Page 2985 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 15 September 2015

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And then there is more. They go on to say:

It is not clear how the $452 million is anticipated to be allocated across the forward estimates, nor is it clear how the $452 million relates to the $1.5 billion in the capital provision allowance.

You, Madam Speaker, like me, will recall the Gungahlin Drive debacle which sucked the life out of the rest of the capital works budget and was very unclear as the government quadrupled the price of the project. This is only one example. With such comments made by a qualified and objective review of the government’s budget, you can understand why an amendment bill like this, purporting to make it easier for the government to fund their initiatives and shift taxpayers’ money, could be thought of as a bit worrying. It is not the legislation but how the government will use this legislation.

Although we will be supporting this amendment bill, the Canberra Liberals will be following closely this government’s application of these changes and any further amendments the government makes to the operation of the FMA which affects the people of the ACT and the budget.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.04): This bill aims to simplify and streamline financial reporting requirements while also increasing transparency and accountability to the Assembly and the wider community. The government has undertaken an extensive review of the Financial Management Act, particularly in the areas of appropriation and budget management. This bill today is a direct result of that review, and there will also be improvements to the next budget process as a result of this review.

This bill covers a range of changes to the Financial Management Act, including the provision in the act which currently requires reporting in the Assembly on a range of appropriation variations within three sitting days of the appropriation being authorised. This bill removes those reporting requirements to instead move to a quarterly financial statement from the Treasurer that covers any of these changes.

This bill also introduces a new division on capital works reporting, including six-monthly capital works reporting to the Assembly. This report will include progress on delivery of all capital works underway in the previous six months and must be tabled within 60 sitting days of the end of the reporting period or otherwise circulated out of session to members.

There is also a new section to ensure that the director-general of a directorate must manage the directorate in a way that promotes the achievement of the purpose of the directorate, the financial sustainability of the directorate, and is not inconsistent with the policies of the government. The director-general must also take into account the effect of those decisions on public resources generally. This section is in line with the line of sight and triple bottom line reporting principles which ensure that the government’s expenditure is attuned to the delivery of the government’s key strategies and priorities. And that is something that the Greens have been particularly keen to see for a number of years now.

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