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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2417 ..



that expenditure to a range of areas within its responsibility. We also provide, through appropriations, substantial money for unforeseen circumstances, in the Treasurer's Advance. The estimates process has given me substantial concern about how seriously this government takes the process of the allocation of expenditure. I am concerned about whether this government has the ability to live within its own budget and ensure that the budget we have before us today is meaningful.

Within the next few months the annual reports from the various departments will be tabled, and they will reveal whether the government can live within its own budget. I believe that the indicators thus far do not bode well; they show that there is a substantial blowout in a number of areas. The most notable area of the budget blowout is health-I covered this in the estimates process.

The electorate of Canberra will judge the government in months to come on the substance of the budget and the way it is delivered. Most importantly, the government will be judged on whether it is delivering promised services, better outcomes and whether it can live within the budget it has set. We will see whether this year will bring a huge budget blow-out, and we will see whether this government will need to top up the money with more appropriations, as it had to do this morning for the 2002-03 financial year. We will all wait to see what the real bottom line will be next June.

Amendment agreed to.

Proposed expenditure, as amended, agreed to.

Proposed expenditure-part 1.18-Treasurer's Advance $20,800,000.


(12.44 am): After the way the Treasurer interpreted the Financial Management Act in this current financial year, we will have to be quite watchful of how he will be looking to spend this $21 million of taxpayers' money. The Assembly has had a number of debates over how Treasurer's Advance has been spent in the last financial year, and it is clear that we believe that appropriations taken out of Treasurer's Advance need to be unforeseen and urgent requirements.

Whilst that might not be specifically laid out in the Financial Management Act, I believe that that is the understanding of this Assembly. I look forward to the Treasurer being more aware of that in the future and spending Treasurer's Advance on things that are clearly unforeseen and clearly urgent.


(Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (12.45 am): I would just ask members, when they look at the $20,800,000, to think of it as $400,000 a week.

Mrs Burke

: Trust you, you're the Treasurer!


: Trust me. Exactly. In response to Ms Dundas: I would appeal for some flexibility in remembering that it is a territory out there, and there are many dynamics occurring as we speak. I have done budgets in smaller organisations and let me say-I think I coined the phrase-it is like trying to land a jumbo on the footpath trying to get the result predicted 15 or 18 months before the year washes up.

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