Page 2317 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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I note with satisfaction that the government has delivered a budget that has received the select committee’s endorsement to pass through the Assembly. The government thanks the committee for its support of the budget. The committee made 19 recommendations and the government has responded to all of the recommendations. The committee’s report discusses a wide range of issues. I will not take up the Assembly’s time working through all 19 of the recommendations. They are discussed in the response document. Nevertheless, I will touch on a few.

The committee has recommended that the government undertake a whole-of-government review of performance measurement. The government is committed to a program of continual review and refinement of the territory’s performance management framework, with a focus on the information needs of all stakeholders. The government has made a significant improvement in the 2005-06 budget presentation in introducing revised performance indicators. Consistent with our existing commitment, this work will extend beyond one budget cycle.

During the development of the revised performance measurement framework, the government released two consultation papers. The first was aimed at initiating a discussion on further development of triple bottom line reporting in the ACT. The second provided specific advice to members of the Legislative Assembly on the proposed format of the new performance measurement framework in the presentation of future budget papers. With the exception of the sustainability expert reference group, no response was received to either of those papers. The government will continue to pursue improvements in the financial management framework and will provide opportunities for stakeholder input as required.

In recommendation 8, the committee has recommended that the government adopt a systematic approach to asset management. The government is committed to maintaining the long-term service delivery capacity of the territory’s assets. As a part of that, agencies undertake significant asset management planning to form the basis of future service delivery and asset management projects.

All agencies undertake programmed condition audits of assets with a view to ensuring that asset management projects are guided by up-to-date information. A review undertaken throughout 2004-05, however, has indicated that this represents an area for improvement across government departments. The government has, in the 2005-06 budget, initiated a rolling program of funding for ongoing capital upgrades, linking asset management planning and practices to funding. It is, however, recognised that these processes can be resource intensive and will take some time to fully implement.

In general, the recommendations raised by the committee do not raise any serious issues that would prevent the passing of the Appropriation Bill 2005-2006, and I thank the committee for its consideration of these issues.

While I am on my feet, I would just like to make some passing references to, particularly, the dissenting report put forward by the two Liberal members of the estimates committee. I think that the first point that has to be made is about the claim that the government has made profligate use of windfall gains. The dissenting report goes on to talk about budget expenditure outcomes having exceeded budget estimates by

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