Page 2987 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 15 September 2015

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ongoing basis under the current arrangement and many of these rollovers are quite small and fairly insignificant, the Treasurer can now direct transfers of capital works funding to other appropriation outputs, noting that if the transfer reduces the appropriation by up to $500,000 or five per cent of the amount the Treasurer must report this to the Assembly as part of the quarterly reporting requirement. If the reduction is more than $500,000 or five per cent the direction becomes a disallowable instrument. This is an increase on the current threshold. I think the new approach retains the suitable level of transparency.

Appropriations from commonwealth grants to specific entities will be able to be transferred to another entity in order to fulfil the grant project in cases of changes to administrative arrangements. This is especially useful in cases where the commonwealth has granted funds to the ACT government but the funds were not directly appropriated to the territory entity undertaking the project. The transfer of funds between appropriations will increase the flexibility of transfer for specific projects so that projects can be funded by expenditure on behalf of the territory as well as from GPO.

All of these changes are designed to ease the processes while ensuring that both the Assembly and the general public as well as key agencies are able to maintain a level of scrutiny and oversight. I do believe that the amendments to this bill today are improvements on current practices and on that basis we will be supporting the bill in the Assembly.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (11.10), in reply: I again thank the opposition and Minister Rattenbury for their support of this legislation. The Financial Management Act is the key legislation for the financial management of the territory’s resources. It has remained largely unchanged since its commencement in 1996. Although there are no major issues with the FMA in its current form there is scope to enhance the effectiveness of the legislation, and the constraints associated with some of the existing provisions hinder the government’s ability to quickly and effectively respond to change in priorities and community expectations.

So it is time to modernise the territory’s financial management legislation and provide a progressive and more robust framework that is effective both now and into the future, a framework that enhances the ability of the government to be more nimble, agile and responsive to the territory community. The bill results from an ongoing Financial Management Act review being undertaken by the government and focuses mainly on areas of appropriation and budget management. The suite of proposed amendments aims to reduce red tape and ambiguity and also address some of the existing rigidities by streamlining current provisions and putting in place arrangements that are more efficient and effective.

These amendments are designed to deliver more flexible appropriation management within an appropriate financial management framework. The proposed measures provide the government the means to progress initial preparatory work on new initiatives pending the passing of the first appropriation act. They also enable the government to redirect funding to meet changing priorities and pressures promptly

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