Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4639 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
appropriation bills were tabled. Previous legal advice on this issue has indicated that the condition is not clear and that, to be more effective, the condition needs to specify who is responsible for foreseeing the expenditure. It is currently unclear whether the need for expenditure must not have been reasonably foreseeable by the Treasurer, officers of Treasury, or officers of the agency requesting the funds before the Treasurer's Advance can be used.
My amendment makes it clear that if the Treasurer, the chief executive of a department, the CEO of an authority or a minister had knowledge of the need to meet the expense and they knew it prior to the date of presentation of the last appropriation bill, the Treasurer's Advance should not be used. If any one of these people knew of the need for spending on this item in the current financial year before the tabling of the last appropriation bill, there was an opportunity to get the item into that appropriation bill through the cabinet process.
This bill seeks to improve the accountability of a government in the expenditure of over $20 million of public moneys. I support the continued existence of the Treasurer's Advance because events like the January bushfire show that a government can be required to meet urgent and unavoidable expenses. They may have no real choice but to spend money so quickly that there is no time for the preparation of a supplementary budget. I believe that that is what the Treasurer's Advance should be for-urgent and unforeseen circumstances in which something needs to happen quickly to help the community. This bill makes it clear that these are the types of special circumstances where it is appropriate to use the Treasurer's Advance.
The government has claimed that a lack of clarity in the wording of the Financial Management Act has been responsible for the Auditor-General's criticisms of the use of the Treasurer's Advance. If this bill is passed, the scope for differing interpretations of the meaning of section 18 should be greatly reduced and would see in this place greater accountability for the entire budget process. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Quinlan ) adjourned to the next sitting.
MS MacDONALD (11.01): I move:
That the Assembly:
(1) acknowledges the importance of ACT Workcover in promoting occupational health and safety in the ACT;
(2) congratulates the winners of the 2003 ACT Occupational Health and Safety Awards for their leadership in the field of occupational health and safety; and
(3) recognises the importance their leadership plays in increasing awareness about health and safety practices in ACT work places.
Mr Speaker, I rise today to speak about people who show initiative and set a good example for others. On an average day in the ACT, 19 people are injured in workplace-related accidents. This equates to approximately 95 people a week and almost