Page 134 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Standing and temporary orders—suspension
Motion (by Mr Smyth) proposed:
That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent order of the day, Assembly business, relating to the proposed referral of the Appropriation Bill 2008-2009 (No 2) to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, being called on forthwith.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (6.11): The government will not be supporting this motion. The reason for that is that when you look at the matters outlined in the appropriation bill, they are about the implementation of election commitments.
These are not surprises for the Assembly to consider. I would understand the opposition’s objection to not having a detailed scrutiny process if a whole range of new, unexpected and significant expenditure was suddenly placed on the agenda for the Assembly to consider. But that is simply not the case.
Indeed, the government is funding a range of administrative arrangements that have been put in place as a result of the establishment of new portfolios and new departments. I do not think that there is going to be any objection to the funding of those proposals. Indeed, I think it would be incumbent on the opposition to say why they believe that expenditure is inappropriate.
More importantly, the appropriation bill funds key election commitments that the Labor Party went to people on at the last election and said, “We will, if elected, implement a second appropriation in the first full sitting of this place to fund these commitments.” That is what the Labor Party said it would do and, surprise, surprise, the Labor Party is doing it, Mr Speaker. The Labor Party is doing it. The suggestion from the opposition that it is unwarranted and unnecessary to have the matter introduced and debated this week is simply incorrect.
There is, of course, a range of other matters that are proposed, including funding the latest Remuneration Tribunal decision in relation to MLAs’ rates of pay. I am sure that members would be surprised by that requirement. But I think it is worth drawing to members’ attention the matters that the government is saying it believes are important to be implemented and which are election commitments.
First of all, there is the $1 million to provide direct financial relief to individuals and households to assist in meeting increased living costs. This is a very clear and explicit election commitment made by the government before the last election. We said it was important. We said it needed to be done early, and we are doing it. Equally important is the $2.5 million to provide support to the work of carers and volunteers in our community. The funds are to be distributed to volunteers, to carers, foster carers and kinship carers. In particular, this recognises the impost they face around transport costs. There is funding for the west Belconnen community health cooperative—