At the start of the latest sitting week for the Legislative Council, two bills relating to remuneration for members of Parliament and for senior public servants were passed. The chamber also heard the first official economic statement from the state’s Treasurer, marked the recent Hunter Valley bus tragedy, and gathered for another first speech. Read on to learn more…
MINISTERIAL STATEMENT ON THE GRETA BUS TRAGEDY
Tuesday’s sitting began with the Hon John Graham, in his capacity as Minister for Roads, making a statement regarding the Greta bus tragedy on 11 June 2023, which resulted in 10 deaths and serious injuries to multiple passengers. The statement extended thoughts to the family and friends of those affected as well as the broader community, and thanked those who responded to the emergency. The Hon Sam Farraway spoke in reply on behalf of the Opposition, before members and officers stood as a mark of respect. Full details can be found in the Hansard record.
ECONOMIC STATEMENT BY THE TREASURER
The chamber was full in the afternoon, when Treasurer the Hon Daniel Mookey delivered a statement in relation to the state’s finances. Normally at this time of year the annual Budget is handed down, but with the election of the new government this has been delayed until September.
The Treasurer updated the House regarding several economic factors that have impacted on the state’s finances, including the effects of high inflation on replacing infrastructure such as roads and schools. The Treasurer also noted the previous government’s plans to develop and expand the Debt Retirement Fund, which was created in 2018 to provide long-term investment returns to help reduce the debt of the state. The Treasurer indicated he would write to the Chair of the State Development Committee with terms of reference for a short inquiry into the best way to operate the Fund. Finally, the Treasurer spoke to the impact of spending commitments and program liabilities, and the state’s credit rating.
Shadow Treasurer the Hon Damien Tudehope spoke in response to the statement, reflecting on the former Coalition government’s budget, spending and investments.
INQUIRIES ADOPTED BY THE REGIONAL NSW COMMITTEE (AND OTHER COMMITTEE NEWS)
Two new Upper House inquiries were reported in the chamber on Tuesday. The Hon Mark Banasiak (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers), as Chair of the Regional NSW Committee, informed the House that the committee has adopted an inquiry into the veterinary workforce shortage in NSW (with the terms of reference seen in the Hansard here), and an inquiry into the operation of approved charitable organisations under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (see the details in Hansard here).
Also in committee news, a number of announcements were made about committee membership, including relating to the election of Chairs and Deputy Chairs. Browse the Hansard record here, or go directly to the various committee pages on the Parliament’s website.
PASSED: PARLIAMENTARY REMUNERATION AMENDMENT BILL 2023
Debate on the Parliamentary Remuneration Amendment Bill 2023 resumed on Tuesday, with this Council bill having been introduced by Minister John Graham earlier in June. The bill provides for a freeze, until 30 June 2025, on increases to the basic salary of members of both Houses of Parliament. Further details of the bill can be found in our earlier blog entry.
During the second reading debate, the Opposition spoke briefly in support of the bill, before both the second and third readings of the bill were agreed to on the voices. The bill was then forwarded to the Assembly for concurrence.
PASSED: STATUTORY AND OTHER OFFICES REMUNERATION AMENDMENT BILL 2023
The Statutory and Other Offices Remuneration Amendment Bill 2023, introduced by Minister Graham during an earlier sitting, seeks to freeze increases in remuneration for senior public servants for the next two years. Details can be found in our earlier blog entry about the bill here.
During Tuesday’s second reading debate, contributions were heard from the Opposition, The Greens and the Government. See all members’ contributions in the Hansard record.
With both the second and third readings of the bill agreed to on the voices before the bill was forwarded to the Assembly for concurrence.
FIRST SPEECH OF THE HON TANIA MIHAILUK
During May, the Honourable Tania Mihailuk (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) was appointed to fill a casual vacancy in the Council – and on Tuesday evening she delivered her first speech as a member of the House. Read the speech in full in the Hansard record.
Ms Mihailuk is among just a small cohort of people to have served in both Houses of the NSW Parliament. From 2011 to 2023 she was a member of the Legislative Assembly, representing the electorate of Bankstown.
COMMITTEE REPORTS – TAKE NOTE DEBATES
‘Take note’ debates for several committee reports from the last parliamentary session took place on Tuesday. See the links below for the full overviews in the Hansard record:
- COVID-19 classification of the Minister for Health (dated December 2022, debate continued from back in May)
- Appointment of Mr John Barilaro as Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to the Americas: Interim report (dated February 2023, debate continued from an earlier sitting)
- Barangaroo sight lines (dated February 2023)
- 2022 Review of the Compulsory Third Party insurance scheme and 2022 Review of the Lifetime Care and Support scheme (both dated February 2023 – motion agreed to without debate)
- Special report from the Public Accountability Committee concerning an unauthorised disclosure of in camera evidence (dated March 2023)
REPORTS TABLED AND REPORTED IN THE THOUSE
Just some of the reports tabled or reported in the House on Tuesday included:
- Review of NSW Police Force responses to domestic and family violence incidents (June 2023 report of the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission)
- Special report into the financial affairs of the Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (June 2023 special report of the Auditor-General)
- Local Government 2022 (June 2023 financial audit report of the Auditor-General)
- Financial management and governance in MidCoast Council (June 2023 performance audit report of the Auditor-General)
- Report of the Independent Complaints Officer of the NSW Parliament to the Legislative Council Privileges Committee and Legislative Assembly Parliamentary Privileges and Ethics Committee, for the period 1 March 2023 to 31 May 2023 (June 2023)
Just one motion was agreed to without debate during the morning’s formal business: Vivid Sydney 2023, moved by Ms Abigail Boyd (The Greens).