Page 2828 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 13 August 2013

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The proposed budget may depart from the principles of responsible fiscal management, but if it does … the Treasurer must present to the Legislative Assembly, when the first Appropriation Bill for the financial year is presented to the Legislative Assembly, a statement …

That was not done.

We have a bill that is in conflict with the Financial Management Act and a Treasurer who asks all members in this place to, I suspect, breach the law. That would be inappropriate.

How do we know this, Madam Speaker? We know that we do not have full and timely disclosure of the financial information about the activities of the government and its agencies because the minister himself has said that he cannot or will not tell us what the impact of its rate and tax changes will mean over the next 20 years; will not tell us what the real cost of the capital metro project will be and what effect it will have on the cost of living and on the budget; and, of course, cannot, will not or simply refuses to tell us the effect of the ICRC’s decision on the dividend that ACTEW gives that forms an important part of this budget in the budget documents as presented, about $100 million a year for the next four years.

I for one will not be breaching the Financial Management Act, and I suspect most members here would have very serious concerns about being asked to pass a bill that does not comply with the law. That is what this minister is asking us to do today. How do we know this? Because he says to us, “I’ll tell you in February.” In February 2014, seven months from now, he will tell us what the impact of the ICRC decision will be. I do not believe that that is timely disclosure of financial information. On that line alone, this bill should be delayed.

We are not asking for the bill to be adjourned until February, when the minister will make this disclosure. And we are not blocking supply. Indeed, we are 44 days into the new budget, we are 44 days into the new financial year, and everything is going as it should. The government has supply, under both the law and conventions. If the minister doubts that, he can read the act, which he clearly has not done. What we should do is put this debate off until such time as the minister can meet the requirement of section 11(6)(f) and give us full, accurate and timely disclosure of the financial information.

Section 11(6) looks at the principles of responsible fiscal management. It sets out the principles. It is almost a no-brainer to expect that the documents would be full, accurate and timely. But apparently those opposite, with the support of Mr Rattenbury, believe that that is not so. Mr Rattenbury talks about the four pillars that the Greens rest upon—how wonderful they are, how the old parties are doing it wrong and how the new party will lead to more openness, more accountability. Let us see if the new party has the ticker to do what it should do—put off this debate until next month. That is what should happen. We know from ACTEW’s statement of intent that it is anticipated that ACTEW will provide revised financial forecasts in late August 2014.

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