Page 3794 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 18 October 2005

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Assembly, because there are only four scheduled sitting days, and may not have been tabled until the third week in November. That would be quite unsatisfactory and quite unnecessary. Those reports should be delivered to the members of the Assembly out of session, if necessary, as soon as they are available.

To overcome that problem, the opposition amendments provide for annual financial reports and the accompanying audit opinions to be delivered to the Assembly according to the requirements of the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 2004. At present there is no formal link between the Financial Management Act and the annual reports act. These amendments create that link and bring the timing of presentation of all annual reports to the Assembly into line. The rules governing presentation of annual financial reports, along with audit comments and performance reports, should be the same for each and simplified.

Basically our amendments mean that all annual reports must be presented to the Assembly within three months after the end of the relevant financial year. I appreciate the Treasurer’s support for the opposition’s amendments that ensure that one simple rule applies to the timing of all annual reports.

MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (5.28): The government will agree to the amendments. I give notice that later I will be moving a resultant amendment to amended clause 37, to which amendment No 7 applies

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.28): I will be supporting amendments Nos 1 to 5 and 7 and 8. These, like many of Mr Mulcahy’s later amendments, simply roll the financial reporting requirements into the annual reporting requirements and then ensure that performance statements would all become available to members of the Assembly by the end of September, which is de facto the situation at present. These amendments are designed to insert the present reporting requirements into the legislation and, consequently, deserve my support.

Amendments agreed to.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.29): I move amendment No 6 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 3810].

Amendment No 6 provides for departmental performance reports to be presented to the Assembly on a quarterly, rather than six-monthly, basis. I note the reasons for moving to six-monthly reporting and the Treasurer’s decision not to agree to this amendment, but with automated systems for recording, analysing and presenting data, it cannot be as difficult as has been suggested for the government to meet this particular measure of reporting. If there is a problem with agencies not providing information on time or of the quality expected, I strongly believe that the Treasurer should address the cause of that problem and not mask its symptoms by simply diminishing the timeliness of information presented to the Assembly. Six months is too long; three months is probably most appropriate.

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