Page 1795 - Week 06 - Thursday, 14 May 2015

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The bill seeks to reduce the number of places that create requirements for agencies for their annual reporting so that agencies are able to look to the Chief Minister’s annual report directions for their reporting requirements. I support this proposal in principle. Amendments will be moved today and I will speak to those when we get to them. Overall, as members will have gathered from the points I have made, I support this legislation. I think it will streamline processes, and there has been a very careful discussion to make sure this is not about removing reporting requirements that are valid. Careful consideration has been given to making sure there is not a loss of information available to either the public or members of the Assembly.

A number of the amendments today have come through the public accounts committee process, where there has been further refining of the requirements of this bill. I welcome the Chief Minister’s flexibility in addressing a number of the concerns raised by the public accounts committee. I will come to some of those in the detail stage.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (11.55): The proposed amendments to the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Amendment Bill 2014 have been undertaken in response to recommendations made by the standing committee. For the benefit of the Assembly, the overall intention of the amendment bill is to make agency reports more concise and relevant to agency performance, address the time frame within which agencies must produce annual reports, and consolidate all annual reporting requirements being repealed by the bill from other primary legislation.

As Mr Rattenbury has alluded to—obviously this will be before us in the detail stage—the government has responded to the standing committee’s recommendations as they relate to the original bill by adjusting the time frame by which annual reports must be produced from four months to 15 weeks, providing technical clarification within the bill regarding arrangements for the tabling of annual reports in an election year, and reversing previously omitted requirements relating to legislation.

I foreshadowed on Tuesday that the government would be making changes to the bill when I tabled the government response to the public accounts committee report. I circulated those amendments to Assembly members yesterday. In themselves they are minor and technical, and the government has had due consideration to the report presented following the Standing Committee on Public Accounts inquiry into the bill. We are of the view that extending the reporting period from three months to 15 weeks is an appropriate compromise between the bill previously presented and the standing committee’s recommendations.

The time frame allows for sufficient rigour to be applied to the reporting process, following the completion of the audit process. It alleviates the significant pressure on affected staff and allows for a high quality product to be delivered without greatly impacting on the annual report hearings or other Assembly business.

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