Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 26 June 2008) . . Page.. 2050 ..
Broadly speaking, the recommendations included in the report related to improvements in estimates procedures and budget presentation and additional information to be provided to the Assembly in the future. The government accepted or noted the majority of the recommendations and again thanks the committee for its diligence in preparing the report.
The committee’s report was accompanied by a second volume, namely, a dissenting report prepared by Mrs Dunne and Mr Smyth, which contained a further 55 recommendations. The government considered the report did little to promote debate about the 2008-2009 budget as it did not substantially further the discussion of the proposed expenditure proposals and resource allocations.
As a result the government has not responded in a detailed manner to the dissenting report’s individual recommendations. However, there was one aspect of the report the government felt it necessary to respond to—that of land rent. The land rent scheme operational from 1 July 2008 will allow low to moderate income households to rent, instead of buy, the land component of a house and land package. The report recommended that the government withdraw the land rent scheme.
The government strongly disagreed with this recommendation and considered that, by making such a recommendation, Mrs Dunne and Mr Smyth demonstrated that they have not been able to grasp the basic concepts of the scheme. In fact, the report makes a number of erroneous statements, despite the comprehensive information provided to the estimates committee hearings, responses to questions on notice and direct briefings by officials. To set the record straight, independent analysis of the Treasury modelling of the scheme has been extremely positive, and the scheme has been designed in consultation with the Law Society, valuers, financial institutions and the Real Estate Institute of the ACT.
Returning to the main report of the estimates committee, the recommendations do not raise any serious issues that would prevent the passing of Appropriation Bill 2008-2009. Rather, the report seeks more information and clarification on a range of issues that the government has agreed to provide, where feasible.
I again thank the committee for its consideration of these issues and remind the Assembly that this budget prepares the territory for a prosperous future by building on the strengths of the present. I commend the government response to the Assembly.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (12.12): It is curious that the Assembly and the opposition, in particular, have given the Chief Minister the courtesy of speaking to the government’s response to the estimates committee report, yet the government would not give members of the committee the courtesy of allowing them to speak to their report.
Mr Corbell says it is part of a cognate debate. Well, why don’t you apply the same standards to your Chief Minister, Mr Corbell, that you apply to everybody else? This could have been dealt with cognately. It is the tradition of this place, Mr Speaker, that members of committees speak to reports when they are tabled.