Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 11 August 2016) . . Page.. 2826 ..
In relation to my in-tray of representations from people across the city and members of this Assembly, I particularly thank all of those who have input into the representations that come in and get addressed and which are then written up in the form of a letter which I send back to people, including many members of this place. I think Ms Lawder may be hot on the heels of Ms Porter in representing the views of her constituents through very frequent and regular letter writing. I can say that every request is taken seriously, every request is dealt with by experts and every request is looked at.
I am very proud to have had the opportunity over the past six months to work with people in the directorate. I know how committed they are. As I have said to them on many occasions previously, their ideas are valued and their work is valued. They have many great ideas because every day of the week, every day of the year, they see our city in a light that no-one else sees it. I look forward to continuing to work with them and seeing those ideas become a reality. I commend this budget to the Assembly.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Total appropriated to territory entities agreed to.
Treasurer’s Advance—Schedule 1, Part 1.19
MR COE (Ginninderra) (8.02): The appropriation allows for about $47 million or so to be set aside for the Treasurer’s advance under the appropriation. I would just like to flag, as I think is customary for the shadow Treasurer, a warning to the Treasurer about this appropriation. It is, of course, not a honey pot that can be drawn upon on demand. It is, in effect, a provision for very serious events that require an additional allocation of funds. Under the Financial Management Act 1996, it is quite clear that the Treasurer must be satisfied that there is an immediate requirement for any payment made under the advance and that the payment is not provided for or is insufficiently provided for by an appropriation because there was erroneous omission or understatement in the appropriation, or the payment was unforeseen until after the last day when it was practical to provide it for the relevant appropriation bill before the bill was introduced into the Assembly. Of course, it would be interesting to know what criteria the Treasurer and his directorate apply when considering a payment that needs to be used. I would also remind the Treasurer of the importance of transparency in government and that it is absolutely essential that this provision is used very rarely and, when it is used, we think there is merit in better reporting of such use.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Urban Renewal) (8.04): Section 18 of the FMA provides the Treasurer with the authority to authorise appropriation if there is an urgent or unforeseen need for expenditure during a fiscal year. The Treasurer’s advance must not exceed one per cent of the total amount appropriated by all appropriation acts for that year. In 2015-16 a total of $40.575 million was expended against the $47.4 million. In 2016-17 an amount of $47.6 million, representing one per cent of the total of appropriations, has been included in the appropriations bill. I commend the Treasurer’s advance to the Assembly.