Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1193 ..
MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (4.22): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I will be brief. I thank the committee for its work and its recommendations. I am not going to say anything further about the draft budget process. Mr Moore tells me that Mr Wood was right in terms of what happened back in 1989. I do not know whether any further work was done after that initial initiative of Rosemary Follett, probably as a result of her putting everything on the table and getting a lot of criticism, but I do recall something about that and I thank Mr Wood for pointing it out.
I am not going to say anything else about this process as everything has been aired before. Naturally, the government will look at the recommendations of the committee. I have read the report and I thank the committee for it. The government will take these matters into account during its deliberations on the final budget.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Finance and Public Administration-Standing Committee
Report No 10
MR QUINLAN (4.23): Pursuant to order, I present the following report:
Finance and Public Administration-Standing Committee (incorporating the Public Accounts Committee)-Finance Committee Report No 10-2001-02 draft budget initiatives and capital works program for the Chief Minister's Department, Department of Treasury and related agencies, dated 23 March 2001, together with extracts of the minutes of proceedings.
That the report be noted.
In the great scheme of things there is not a lot for the Finance and Public Administration Committee to review in this process, given the restrictive nature of the terms of reference, which was virtually to look downward and not outward. Within those constraints, the report makes a few recommendations in relation to what should happen within the final budget. Last year committees had the legitimate complaint that time was not permitted to examine the information supplied. Whereas last year a draft budget was provided, this year we have seen no draft budget. In fact, last year's draft budget bore little resemblance to the final budget as the government seemed to find a lot more money to spend. Be that as it may, the committees at least thought they had a draft budget last year. This year it is now clearly established amongst the community that a draft budget did not materialise.
I would also like to refer to the comments of ACTCOSS to which Ms Tucker referred. I am sorry, I do not recall exactly what she read into Hansard, so I will take the liberty of reading the following extract from the ACTCOSS submission into Hansard:
The Council's ability to comment on the Government's draft measures has been limited by a lack of information. Without the publication of an entire draft budget, it is not possible to determine whether these measures represent new initiatives, whether they are merely existing initiatives renamed or whether they are Commonwealth programs being implemented by the ACT.