Page 4149 - Week 13 - Thursday, 27 November 2014

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relevant and up to date in an ever-changing environment. It is vital that we have a strong and effective public sector. This bill enhances the legislative framework to ensure that we do. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.

Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Amendment Bill 2014

Ms Gallagher, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Health, Minister for Higher Education and Minister for Regional Development) (10.12): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to introduce the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Amendment Bill 2014. The government’s commitment to open government is being facilitated by developments in the online environment, which is setting an unprecedented ability to engage the electorate with up-to-date information. While the annual report remains a key accountability document for the Legislative Assembly, its importance to the community is changing and perhaps diminishing. The electorate wants up-to-date, relevant information which annual reports cannot do, as they provide information at a point in time and are available three months after the end of the reporting year. Therefore, annual report content is being reviewed to complement an increasing presence of government agency information that is being published online with frequent updates.

The bill will allow annual reports to have a more modern focus to reflect ACT community expectations. The requirements of annual reporting are governed by the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 2004, and the content and presentation of annual reports is stipulated by the annual report directions. There are numerous other acts which currently require particular information to be included in one or more annual reports, but their purpose is not related to annual reporting. The bill allows annual report requirements to be consolidated into directions by omitting them from numerous unrelated acts. The bill makes the directions the main legislation to stipulate the content and place of annual report information.

The bill allows for consolidation of annual report requirements to make change to annual reporting easier to implement through one piece of legislation. The bill makes no change to annual report requirements that are contained in legislation that are about accountability and reporting, as they are obvious places for agencies to find information, such as the Financial Management Act 1996. It makes no change to legislation of independent agencies with government accountability roles, such as the Auditor-General and the Ombudsman, to maintain their independent annual reporting requirements in primary legislation.

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