Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4464 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
profit every year just beyond the outyears not have a business plan. The importance of having a business plan cannot be underestimated.
Amendment agreed to.
MRS DUNNE (7.42): I move amendment No 11 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 4506].
This amendment again goes to the Liberal Party's concern that the Land Development Agency operate with a functional business plan at all times. The aim is to ensure that at the beginning of each financial year there is a business plan. I have discussed this with officers from PALM, who raised some concerns that it may be difficult to have this in operation at the beginning of each financial year. But other agencies have budgets in place, and for the most part the government has its budget in place by the beginning of the financial year. It is imperative that an agency which has so much revenue potentially at stake have a business plan in place.
Now that the whole of this legislation will not commence until the beginning of the next financial year, there are plenty of opportunities for a business plan to be devised. If it is too difficult for the agency to have a business plan when it starts operating on 1 July 2003, I would be willing to countenance some transitional arrangement. But it is imperative that from financial year to financial year there be an operating business plan.
MR CORBELL ( Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (7.44): Mr Speaker, the government will not be supporting this amendment, with good reason. Whilst Mrs Dunne's amendment would seem innocuous, the government has two concerns with it. Firstly, as Mrs Dunne herself has pointed out, it is proposed that the Land Development Agency not commence operation until the beginning of the financial year. Therefore, under the amendment proposed by Mrs Dunne, it would not be possible for the agency to start, because it could not start without a business plan, which is prepared before the beginning of the financial year. If Mrs Dunne had been serious about it, she would have proposed a transition amendment, but she has not done that.
The more important issue is that it is not always the case that a government's budget is passed before the beginning of the financial year. I am sure many of us in this place would be conscious of many occasions when the budget has not passed until after the beginning of the financial year.
Given that a business cannot be formally approved until the budget has been passed and the full financial context is known, I would prefer that the clause remain as is, simply requiring that a business plan be prepared as soon as possible. Preferably that would be before the beginning of the financial year, but the clause allows some flexibility if it is necessary that the business plan be finalised shortly after the commencement of the financial year.
Mrs Dunne's amendment is unnecessarily restrictive. It does not reflect the reality of when budgets are passed. It would be of concern to the government if this amendment were put in place.