Page 1395 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2009

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recommendations in turn, as I understand there is agreement to manage the debate that will follow cognately. The details are contained in the government’s response to the standing committee’s report.

Broadly speaking, the committee’s support for this package of work is welcomed. However, I note that concerns were raised in the report about the level and focus of infrastructure expenditure included in the package. It should be noted that this package was developed to deliver a focused and immediate response to an emerging issue primarily facing the building and construction industry. The response focuses on a limited number of small projects that could be delivered quickly with the aim of extending the useful life of the territory’s asset base.

The projects were “shovel ready”, as the committee describes it, and in a mature stage of design and procurement. These works are generally not new projects. These are projects that were profiled for delivery at some time in future budgets and indentified within agencies’ usual asset management planning process. However, it is work that has to be done. Rather, we have chosen to accelerate the process and undertake the projects sooner rather than later.

The committee recommended that the government consider detailed statistics in framing its budget. I think it is important to note that the government already undertakes wide-ranging analysis on a range of economic and financial indicators available to it. The government also takes into account business, industry and community feedback in its broader fiscal and policy objectives.

The committee sought specific details on the breakdown of labour, plant and materials for each project included in the bill, which was also subject to a series of questions throughout the committee hearings. As I have outlined in the report, capital works are not tendered or contracted in a way that would enable this information to be extracted prior to the receipt of detailed quotations for these works. The range of projects in the local initiatives package varies considerably in the amount of labour, plant and materials that are likely to be required.

The committee also made reference to how spending proposals may be evaluated. In framing an appropriation bill we undertake a rigorous analysis and assessment process, including the development and consideration of detailed business cases which establish the means for evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of our spending. As with all new projects, rigorous planning and procurement processes are also undertaken as a means of assessing delivery against the original proposals.

Finally, the committee recommended that a formal update on the estimated outcome for the 2008-09 budget be provided. The government agrees and this update will be included in the 2009-10 budget to be presented on 5 May.

Madam Deputy Speaker, I have kept the community informed of major impacts to the territory’s finances as they occur and I will continue to do so in the lead-up to the delivery of the budget in May. I commend the government’s response to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Burch) adjourned to a later hour.

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