Page 2966 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Hunter for the question. There is a number of different processes that will be undertaken for the budget savings strategy. There is the community consultation process, which will start in July. That will be led with a discussion paper that the Treasury is currently putting together outlining the magnitude of the savings task and the landscape we are operating within. It will seek ideas for the budget and also savings suggestions if the community have those.

This is six months earlier than we would normally do this. So we are bringing forward the community consultation by six months. That will enable cabinet to have, I guess, the feedback from the community earlier in the financial year than we have had in the past when we have sought it in late November and it has come in by February, by which time we are putting the budget together.

In relation to the efficiency dividend, that can certainly be subject to the community process if there are ideas around efficiencies within government that can come through that process. The government itself will be having other processes established which I will lead the work on for agencies to provide to the budget committee of cabinet suggestions around their efficiency dividends to be implemented next year.

I am working on a timetable that that information should be brought forward to September, again just so we can have the information sit with the government for longer than it has in the past while we make some of those decisions for next year.

Essentially, it will kick off at the end of July with a discussion paper that Treasury is currently putting together. We will do the normal process of writing to all the community organisations, putting a website up and advertising it as much as we possibly can to let people know how to get involved.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Can the Treasury ensure that departments involved in applying the efficiency dividend include organisations that are contracted to deliver services and also consumers of those services—that we make sure that they are involved in how that efficiency dividend may be applied?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, agencies will need to do that work and ministers will lead that work within their own portfolio areas. Indeed, I have had a meeting with Disability, Housing and Community Services today and they already have a meeting set up with ACOSS just as an example of that to kick off that discussion with them, I think this week.

The Chief Minister and I have written to ministers outlining the process we would like to see undertaken in terms of applying the efficiency dividend. Ministers will now manage that work in their own portfolios, but it will come back to the budget committee around September for consideration. So I have no doubt that that will all incorporate funded non-government agencies through that work.

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