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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2056 ..

Public Place Names Act-Determination of a street nomenclature in the Division of Nicholls-Instrument No 103 of 2001 (No 23, dated 7 June 2001).

Unit Titles Act-Unit Titles Regulations 2001-Subordinate Law 2001 No 15 (No 23, dated 7 June 2001).

Financial Management Amendment Bill 2001

Debate resumed from 13 June 2001, on motion by Mr Humphries:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR QUINLAN (4.10): Mr Deputy Speaker, I think the government is nicking an initiative of my own. I have the recently arrived draft for the introduction of quarterly reporting as opposed to four-monthly reporting up in my office now. This bill goes a bit further and provides the avenue for a two-layered system of audit of the financial statements for the current financial year in order that they can be published and promulgated before the election. It does not actually pin the government to doing that. It just allows a freer approach to the audit of 2000-2001 financial statements.

It is a matter of the government honouring its pledge, made in this place today, to ensure that the Auditor gets the financial statements in time to audit them and they go through, and the subsidiary audits of all the performance measures that are necessary to conclude his audit can be done later. So, in order to hasten the process for the current financial year to be audited by the election date, it is necessary to free up the process a little. We are happy to support that.

As far as four-monthly reporting goes, I think that is next to useless. I have circulated a series of amendments which are designed to amend the Financial Management Act to allow for quarterly reporting. I will explain why I think the quarterly reporting is far more useful.

In quarterly reporting you will get a set of accounts, September, December, March and June. The September reports will be next to useless in terms of picking annual directions. It will be too soon in the day to draw any real conclusions from them. On four-monthly reporting, that would happen in October. That might be slightly more useful, but it is still very early in the financial year.

Under the four-monthly reporting scheme, the next report would be the end of February. With the government's 45 days to prepare those statements, this Assembly would be receiving the first meaningful set of numbers in each financial year two weeks before the budget is brought down for the next financial year. The budget for the next financial year quite obviously includes the forward estimate or the expected outcome for the current financial year anyway. So the information content of the four-monthly process I think is next to zero. I do not know who it was that brought into this place the scheme of monthly reporting, whether it has always been in the Financial Management Act or whether it was introduced later.

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