Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3833 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

budget also takes into account the object of ecologically sustainable development. My amendments have been taken directly from the Auditor-General Act, so they have already been through the scrutiny process and they are suitable for inclusion in this sort of legislation. I ask members to support my amendments.

It is important to acknowledge that issues relating to fiscal responsibility cannot be separated from issues relating to social and environmental sustainability. Mr Stefaniak expressed concern about the fact that I will not be supporting the amendment moved by the Liberal Party and said that my statement in relation to that amendment is inconsistent with other statements that I have made. To the contrary, I said today-perhaps Mr Stefaniak was not listening-that I was happy to have a closer look at the Liberal proposal in the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. I have not been given enough information at this point in time to know whether this is the best area in which to allocate additional resources. Huge burdens have already been placed on officials who are trying to introduce the concept of triple bottom-line reporting.

The Office of Sustainability is chronically underresourced, as are a number of other public service departments. Thanks for that unfortunately go to former Liberal governments. Realistically, we have to take into account those public service departments. Mr Stefaniak seems to think that because I want this matter referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts I have suddenly lost interest in accountability. That is not a particularly strong argument. I ask all members to support my amendments which are consistent with everything that the government has said about triple bottom-line reporting. Those amendments clearly spell out that any responsible budgetary process must take into account ecological sustainability.

MS DUNDAS (11.41): The Australian Democrats are happy to support these amendments. As I said earlier, the ACT still has some way to go in developing appropriate social and environmental measures before it moves towards triple bottom-line reporting. We heard in debate today some suggestions about how to move forward. I believe that these amendments simply strengthen existing provisions in the bill, which states:

(4) The proposed budget must be prepared taking into account-

(b) the object of providing a basis for sustainable social and economic services and infrastructure fairly to all ACT residents.

These amendments will extend that concept by inserting the additional object of ecologically sustainable development. I commend Ms Tucker for moving these amendments. There has been a great deal of debate this morning about gender auditing. The Treasurer also said earlier that a statement on women will be included in the budget papers. There is a difference between a statement on women and gender auditing. I hope that the Treasurer does not see them as one and the same. While I welcome the move to establish how women are being impacted on by the budget through the provision in the budget papers of a women's statement, gender auditing must still form part of the budgetary process. That strong recommendation was made in the Status of Women report. The government said that it would work towards implementing that recommendation. The Australian Democrats would like to see that happening in the next budget.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .