Page 2055 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2016

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I move:

That the report be noted.

The Select Committee on Estimates 2016-17 was established on 10 March with Mr Smyth as the Chair, Mr Hinder as the Deputy Chair and members Ms Burch and Mr Doszpot. Following Mr Smyth’s resignation I was appointed to the committee by the Acting Speaker and became Chair on 18 July.

Firstly I would like to thank my committee colleagues for the way in which they approached the deliberation of their report. Whilst I attended numerous public sessions of the committee, especially on the portfolios of which I am the shadow, it was the original committee members who participated in more than two weeks of public hearings and they do warrant the Assembly’s thanks. Of course the estimates process is vital for the accountability of the government and in particular the budget and whilst it is a very heavy burden for members to be part of the committee I think the committee functioned very well.

Secondly I would like to extend my thanks to the ministers and witnesses who appeared before the committee. I gather a considerable amount of work goes into preparation for estimates hearings by public servants, and all members appreciate that dedication and commitment. Further to this a total of 322 questions were either put or taken on notice by the directorates and I believe all have been answered. Thank you.

Thirdly I would like to thank the community and the industry representative groups for their active engagement with this process. Their contribution ensures that the committee has the right perspective when looking at the roles and responsibilities of the government and its budget.

My final thanks before commenting briefly on the bill go to the staff of the Assembly. We are grateful for the support of the attendants and technicians for facilitating the hearings. We are grateful for the work of the Hansard department in creating a record of the proceedings and, of course, to the secretariat. In particular I would like to thank the secretary, Ms Kate Harkins, and Ms Margie Morrison for their work especially in assisting me over the last fortnight or so. I would also like to thank Mrs Nicola Kosseck, Dr Andrea Cullen, Mr Hamish Finlay, Dr Brian Lloyd, Mr Andrew Snedden, Mr Greg Hall and Ms Lydia Chung.

I will now briefly turn to the substance of the report. The committee made 144 recommendations. I think the committee functioned very efficiently and with the best of intentions. The fact that we agreed to 144 recommendations, I think, is evidence of that. Whilst there will be some recommendations in the report that some members will be more comfortable with than others I think the recommendations do represent the collaboration which took place in the deliberations on this report. There were some additional recommendations that were proposed by Mr Doszpot and me that were not supported and we have included these as additional comments.

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