Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 May 2015) . . Page.. 1367 ..
That is the only workable solution but, in the context of achieving an outcome that I think all parties can support, I certainly commend Mr Coe for trying his hand at legislating. We look forward to cleaning up the bill and getting a better bill as a result of this process.
I note that it did take my bringing forward a bill to address the deficiencies in Mr Coe’s bill before we even saw this brought on in private members’ business. It was sitting on the notice paper for some months. It seems it was not so urgent but suddenly it becomes urgent when the government introduces a bill that addresses the deficiencies in the original private member’s bill. Having said all of that, with the amendments—both Mr Coe’s and mine—that we will consider in the detail stage, we will get a workable piece of legislation.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.03): Having watched the debate across the chamber, I think we are at a point where we are almost organised. This has perhaps been the classic example of people talking about not really wanting to know what goes into a sausage. They say similar things about legislation in the parliamentary process. This is perhaps one of those examples. But the good news is that we have agreement right across the chamber and I think we will get an outcome today.
I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate Mr Coe on his first bill ever in six years in the Assembly. I think it is good to get that first one off the blocks. This might be the beginning of something. We will see how we go. I do note that in this term, with just one MLA, the Greens have managed to present nine bills, including two exposure drafts. The Liberals have had four bills with eight members of the Assembly. So it is good to see them actually starting to get the odd bill or two on the table.
This bill essentially inserts a requirement for government to make public the essential information from government payments to business. This is in the interests of continuing to create a more open and transparent ACT government. The Greens support the intent of this bill and the general move towards improving openness and transparency in government. In fact, I will soon be tabling further freedom of information legislation based on my earlier exposure draft. But that is a discussion for another day.
I turn to the details of the bills before us and I focus particularly on Mr Coe’s bill because that is where we are going to finish up. I think the two bills largely reflect the same points. The bills introduce the key concept of notifiable invoices, invoices which need to have key information published online. This would capture all payments for contracts above a prescribed threshold but it would not capture salaries in intra-government payments, as there is no invoice.
Mr Coe’s bill initially proposed that all invoices of $10,000 or higher should be made public. However, he is now amending this to $25,000. I guess the relevance of that threshold is that contracts over $25,000 must already be notified on the contracts register. So keeping the notifiable invoices threshold at $25,000 will align it with the existing government requirement to notify contracts at or above $25,000 on the contracts register.