Page 1151 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2009

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Tuesday, 24 March 2009

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional owners, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Public Accounts—Standing Committee

Report 1

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (10.02): Pursuant to the order of the Assembly of 26 February 2009, I present the following report:

Public Accounts—Standing Committee—Report 1—Appropriation Bill 2008-2009 (No 3), including additional comments (Ms Burch) dated 23 March 2009, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

I am pleased to speak to report No 1 of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts—Appropriation Bill 2008-2009 (No 3). The resolution of the Assembly of 26 February 2009 referred the appropriation bill to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts for inquiry and report by Tuesday, 24 March 2009. We held public hearings on 4, 11 and 13 March and heard from ministers and accompanying departmental and agency officers.

In reporting, the committee considered the context for the third appropriation bill and that its tabling was coupled with the presentation of the government’s local initiatives package and pre-announcement of the 2009-10 capital upgrades program.

The committee’s report focuses on areas of interest raised during the inquiry process, and our report makes 16 recommendations. Looking at recommendation 1, the committee was concerned about the level of research that underpinned the third appropriation bill. The government relied on a series of roundtables to gain anecdotal information about problems in the ACT economy. The committee was concerned that, given the substantial stimulus to be given to the construction industry in the ACT, and indeed the rest of Australia, by the commonwealth government’s stimulus package, there may not be significant underutilisation of available resources.

The committee notes that significant parts of the commonwealth’s package have to be spent in the same time frame as the local initiatives package which is supported by this appropriation bill, so as our first recommendation the committee recommends that the ACT government consider detailed statistics, such as unemployment by industry sector, before framing any further stimulus packages or, indeed, the 2009-10 ACT budget.

In recommendation 2, the committee recommends that the ACT government ensure that future spending plans have a clear basis on how spending proposals may be

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