Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 12 February 2009) . . Page.. 718 ..
committee system is not properly resourced and we certainly do not get the kinds of resources that we need to properly scrutinise the budget, despite the excellent efforts that are put in place by committee staff, in particular, in this place. So I think it is something that is worth considering.
The only question I would raise is the time frame. The report is due in August. I am particularly interested to know whether that will mean that, if the committee does report in August, not only will we miss out on this year’s budget and having a parliamentary budget officer but potentially, without a second appropriation, we may miss out on having one for next year’s budget because, presumably, budget submissions will not be able to be made prior to this year’s budget until the detail of this is figured out.
So I would suggest that, despite the time frame being August, that is something the admin and procedure committee should consider very carefully to ensure that we do not see not just this year’s budget without a parliamentary budget officer, although I do not see any reason why that could not happen before this year’s budget, but at the very least we would certainly want to see it in place for next year’s budget. So I would certainly commend to the committee that, in their consideration, they should look at this in a fairly speedy way.
I think what we are looking at is the design and the amount of resources. I think there is broad consensus here that the idea is not a bad one. So I would put it to the committee that they should report as soon as possible so that we can have some form of parliamentary budget officer up and running hopefully for this year’s budget—that would be our preference—and certainly no later than before next year’s budget.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.33), in reply: Thank you, members, for your comments and for support for the inquiry. As chair of the admin and procedure committee, I am very much looking forward to this inquiry. I think this is a potentially highly valuable innovation.
Mr Seselja, I think your comments are well made. My sense is that, practically, I would be surprised if we could simply find somebody in time for this year’s budget, but I think your comments on the timing are quite valuable in terms of making sure we are set up for next year. So that is something I will certainly raise with my fellow members of the committee. So on that basis, I commend the motion to the Assembly and thank you for your comments.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Referral of annual reports
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.34): I move:
That the resolution of the Assembly of 11 December 2008 referring the 2007-08 annual and financial reports to the relevant standing committees be amended as follows: