Page 935 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 April 2014

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Officers of the Assembly Legislation Amendment Bill 2014

Mr Rattenbury, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.14): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.


MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Before you stand to speak, Mr Rattenbury, I would just welcome the adult migrant education program from the CIT into the visitors gallery.

Officers of the Assembly Legislation Amendment Bill 2014

MR RATTENBURY: I welcome our guests too. This bill is required to correct a minor error that has left an inconsistency between the Auditor-General Act and the Financial Management Act. As members are aware, this error was identified by the Clerk and communicated to members via the Speaker earlier this year. The current situation is that both the Speaker and the public accounts committee are responsible for providing the recommended appropriation for the Auditor-General to the Treasurer.

The bill corrects this inconsistency by removing part 4 of the Auditor-General Act and clarifying the provisions of the Financial Management Act to ensure that they pick up relevant sections of the Auditor-General Act and apply it to all the officers of the Assembly equally. The only exception to this equality is the requirement for independent audits of the Auditor-General’s financial statements, given that, of course, the Auditor-General cannot audit herself.

The bill also includes the current process in the Auditor-General Act that allows for recommendations for additional appropriations during the financial year to be made to the Treasurer in circumstances where the officer of the Assembly believes that they have inadequate funds to fulfil their functions. This process has been added to the Financial Management Act in largely the same terms as it previously applied to the Auditor-General to ensure that it can be used for each of the officers of the Assembly if the need so arises.

It is important to note that in determining whether or not to make a Treasurer’s advance to an officer of the Assembly the Treasurer must apply the same criteria as for any other use of the Treasurer’s advance under section 18 of the Financial Management Act.

Finally, the bill also responds to a concern raised by the Auditor-General after the passage of the previous bill. The Auditor-General expressed some concern that

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