Page 2986 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 15 September 2015
This bill will also ensure that CEOs of territory authorities are required to promote the achievement of the purpose and the financial stability of the authority. The bill also introduces the ability for directors-general to enter into a memorandum of understanding or contract relating to the operations of the directorate. This is something that has obviously been the case anyway but will now be clarified in legislation.
The bill amends the requirements around statements of intent for territory authorities with additional requirements including reporting on estimated results for the previous financial year, which will enable comparisons across financial years; budget estimates for the next three financial years; a statement on any capital injection that must be repaid; and the outputs, classes of outputs and appropriations to those that the authority will provide during the year. However, if a territory authority presents a proposed budget to the Assembly under section 10(c), or usual appropriation bill, it will not need to prepare a statement of intent.
The clauses around the Treasurer’s advance are being amended to give further reasons for the Treasurer to authorise an advanced appropriation. The Treasurer may authorise a temporary advance of expenditure for a new purpose or new entity if the Treasurer is satisfied that there is an immediate requirement for the expenditure. As in the current legislation, this advance must be appropriated in the immediately following budget. There is also a clause in this bill that ensures that if the Treasurer’s advance is not fully disbursed the undisbursed amount lapses and is unable to be disbursed in the following financial year. Any changes under these clauses require reporting in the quarterly financial statement.
Annual financial statements will also need to be signed by the Under Treasurer to ensure that the Under Treasurer is satisfied that the financial statements have been correctly prepared. It will then be the Under Treasurer’s responsibility to give these statements to the Auditor-General, rather than the current requirement of the Treasurer.
These annual financial statements will have to be given to the Auditor-General within sufficient time to allow the Auditor-General to give an audit opinion within four months of the end of the financial year. This arrangement is less prescriptive than the current legislation, which requires the financial statements to be given to the Auditor-General within three months of the end of the financial year, and the Auditor-General then had 30 days to give an audit opinion.
The half-yearly directorate performance reporting requirements are to be given an extra 15 days for preparation, meaning that they will now need to be prepared and presented to the Assembly within 45 days of the end of the calendar year, rather than the current 30 days. If the Assembly does not have a sitting period the report must be circulated to members out of session.
Many of the changes in the bill are largely related to rollovers. Members would be aware of the onerous rollover reporting and tabling requirements that currently exist. Given that these rollovers are individually tabled in the Assembly on a regular and