Page 1543 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 31 March 2009

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MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Services and Minister for Women) (10.40), in reply: I thank members for their contribution to the debate. The government requested the Financial Management Amendment Bill 2009 be urgently debated as the passage of this amendment impacts the appropriation required to be included in the appropriation bill for 2009-10. As you would be aware, this is the last sitting week before the budget is brought down in May.

The bill addresses an appropriation issue which has arisen due to the intergovernmental agreement which was signed late last year. The IGA implements a new model of cooperative federalism. It provides improvements in the quality and responsiveness of government services by reducing commonwealth prescriptions on service delivery and streamlines the administration of grant payments.

One of the improvements made under the IGA is to simplify the administrative arrangements for the goods and services tax. Prior to the IGA commencing, the commonwealth paid the territory its monthly GST revenue and then the territory paid back to the commonwealth our portion of GST administration costs.

The new and simplified agreement is that the commonwealth will net our GST administrative costs from our GST revenue, thereby reducing two payments to one. In order to fully benefit from the streamlined arrangements, this amendment to the Financial Management Act will allow the netting of GST administration costs to occur without the territory having to appropriate for these costs. Without this amendment, the territory would have to continue to provide appropriation for this expense, even though cash is not required to make the payment, and this would be a very inefficient practice.

This proposed amendment will not erode financial management controls as the territory has very little discretion in relation to this expenditure and the amendment has been narrowly drafted to only apply to GST administration costs. Transparency will also not be eroded as the GST revenue and GST administration costs will still be reflected separately in both the budget and financial statements.

Although this is a small amendment, it will ensure that the territory’s financial management practices remain as efficient and as effective as possible. I thank the Assembly for dealing with this today.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Exhibition Park Corporation Repeal Bill 2009

Debate resumed from 26 March 2009, on motion by Mr Barr:

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