Page 3809 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013

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MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (11.57): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 3869] and table supplementary explanatory statements to the amendments.

This amendment sets out the commencement date to coincide with the start of the 2014-15 financial year. There are set budgetary time frames, and deferring commencement to coincide with the financial year will allow the Speaker and the officers of the Assembly sufficient time to negotiate the appropriation within these time frames. Earlier commencement could create significant administrative discord between financial instruments and administrative arrangements. So this is really to have a clean start to the beginning of these operations.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.58): In putting this legislation in place, it will be important to provide certainty as to commencement. The amendment does that, and we will be supporting it.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.58): This amendment recognises that there will be a complicated transition involved in the establishment of the new offices as completely separate entities. This is most relevant to the Electoral Commission.

As members know, the commission is currently part of the Justice and Community Safety Directorate. Separating from JACS will create an administrative workload for a small entity, and the amendment proposed will extend the time available and should make the financial arrangements easier to organise if they are coordinated with the new financial year.

One important point is, of course, that delaying the commencement of the bill means that we will not have in place the budget mechanisms for the officers’ appropriation. To deal with this issue, the Chief Minister has undertaken to run the budget process outlined in the bill as if it were in place for this year. That means that the committee will be asked to make a recommendation to the Speaker, and the Speaker will make a recommendation to the Assembly, as proposed in the bill. I should also say that the Speaker agreed that this was a good process to deal with the commencement issue, at the same time ensuring that we have the accountability measure proposed in the bill up and running for this year.

Also, the appropriation bill that is presented to the Assembly will be in the form required by this bill so that the appropriation can be made directly to the offices that will have come into existence by the time the appropriation bill is passed. I think that reflects the fact that there was some good discussion about this. I think we have come up with a very useful solution, and for those reasons I am happy to support the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

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