Page 2596 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 28 June 2011

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circulated to members when the Assembly was not sitting. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Estimates 2011-2012—Select Committee

Report—government response

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Health, Minister for Industrial Relations and Treasurer) (10.13): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the following paper:

Estimates 2011-2012—Select Committee—Report—Appropriation Bill 2011-2012—Government response, dated June 2011.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

I present the government’s response to the report of the Select Committee on Estimates 2011-2012. I wish to thank the committee and its support staff for its report on the Appropriation Bill 2011-2012. The committee’s main report has been prepared within a short time frame, and the government appreciates the effort that has been made by the committee and its secretariat. Further, the government would like to extend its appreciation to the chair for his professional leadership. The government respects and values the crucial role played by the Select Committee on Estimates in scrutinising its proposed expenditure.

I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank ACIL Tasman for its efforts and time put into providing an independent view of the 2011-12 ACT budget.

Before I make comment on the estimates report itself, I would initially like to comment on the questioning process this year. Despite the valued efforts of the chair to streamline and improve the question on notice process, we had to manage 894 questions on notice—an increase of 40 per cent on two years ago. The government, conscious of its responsibility, endeavours to respond fully to the questions asked of it during the estimates process. However, each year the increasing volume and scope of the questions, which in some cases sought levels of detail which are not routinely collected by government, has again led to the unfortunate situation where we were unable to answer some of the questions within the mandated five-day period.

At times, the number of questions and level of detail required imposed an excessive workload, resulting in resources being diverted from core services. We accept that scrutiny has a crucial and valuable role through the estimates process and we have been responsive where possible within reasonable limitations. We will endeavour to answer all the questions on notice as soon as possible.

The estimates report is much larger this year, presenting 194 recommendations. In conjunction with the independent adviser’s report, it effectively canvasses a large range of issues in the budget. I will not take the Assembly’s time by working through each of the select committee’s recommendations. These are separately discussed in the response document, which I have tabled here today.

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