On Tuesday, the Budget papers 2019-2020 were tabled in the House and consideration of amendments to the Ageing and Disability Commissioner Bill 2019 continued.
Budget papers 2019-2020
This week, we saw the Budget Papers 2019-2020 tabled by Minister Harwin in the House, which comprise:
- the Budget Statement (Budget Paper No. 1) which provides information on the State finances in aggregate,
- Infrastructure Statement (Budget Paper No. 2) which summaries the Government’s infrastructure investment programs,
- Budget Estimates (Budget Paper No. 3) outlining the financial and service delivery functions of government agencies, and
- the Budget Speech given by the Treasurer in the Legislative Assembly.
Upon tabling of the papers, Minister Harwin moved a motion to take note of the Budget Papers and adjourned the debate to the next sitting day. The take note debate is an opportunity for members to debate the detail in the Budget Papers and the forward estimates. It is standard practice for members speaking to the budget debate to be allowed wide latitude.
Meanwhile, in the Legislative Assembly, the Treasurer had introduced the appropriation bills: the Appropriation Bill 2019, the Appropriation (Parliament) Bill 2019 and the State Revenue and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019. These bills are expected to be received and debated in the Council this Thursday.
Further scrutiny of this year’s Budget will be conducted by the Legislative Council’s seven Portfolio Committees during its annual Budget Estimates inquiry in late August where all ministers will be invited to answer questions about the expenditure, performance and effectiveness of their agencies. The full timetable of the inquiry can be accessed here on the Legislative Council website.
Debate on the bill in committee of the whole resumed on Tuesday (see Hansard for a transcript of the debate) and the committee continued to debate an amendment moved by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers to include mandatory reporting by service providers and managers of serious abuse, neglect or exploitation of adults with disability or older adults. The amendment was not agreed to.
Further amendments were moved by the Opposition and The Greens.
The Opposition successfully moved amendments designed to:
- provide for the Commissioner make appointments to the Ageing and Disability Advisory Board; pay appointed members any entitled fees and allowances; remove an appointed member from the Board at any time and provide a report to Parliament,
- allow the Board to elect a chairperson and deputy chairperson from the appointed members, rather than the Minister appointing these positions from the appointed members,
- provide for the Minister for Disability Services to commission an independent review of the Act to determine whether the policy objectives of the Act remain valid, to be tabled in Parliament by 1 July 2022.
The committee agreed to Greens amendments which:
- intend to ensure the Board is independent and representative of the community by specifying certain community members who should be appointed to the Board, and
- recommend the State provide annual grants of a minimum of $20 million to independent specialist disability advocacy, information and representative organisations to be distributed as determined by the Commissioner. This amendment was agreed to on Division (22:19).
The third reading of the bill was agreed to and the bill passed with 35 amendments. A message was sent to the Legislative Assembly seeking their agreement.
The House took note of several committee reports tabled in the last Parliament. See Hansard for details of the debate.
The following members spoke to the adjournment debate: