It was all about the state budget on Tuesday, with the Treasurer making a special visit to the Legislative Assembly to deliver the official budget speech for 2023/24, before the Legislative Council received and engaged in a take note debate around the budget estimates and papers. Read on for more about this and the rest of the day’s business…
BEFORE THE HOUSE SAT: THE BEGINNING OF BUDGET WEEK
Tuesday was the start of Budget Week, and it began with the rare step of a member of the Council speaking from the floor of “the other place”, the Legislative Assembly. As noted in our earlier blog, NSW Treasurer the Hon Daniel Mookhey is only the fourth Treasurer in the Parliament’s recent history to be a member of the Upper House. Because the Constitution Act 1902 requires the relevant budget bills to be introduced in the Assembly, a special invitation had been agreed to last week to allow him to enter the Assembly chamber and deliver the official speech on the 2023/24 budget. This happened at 12pm on Tuesday, just before the Council sat. See photos in the gallery below, and watch the speech in full here. The speech was also covered on the new Facebook page of the Legislative Assembly.
TABLING & TAKE NOTE OF THE BUDGET PAPERS
After the day’s formal business, the 2023/24 budget papers were tabled by the Leader of the Government in the Council, the Hon Penny Sharpe. These included:
- The Budget Statement 2023/24 (Budget Paper 1), providing aggregated information on state finances
- The Agency Financial Statements 2023/24 (Budget Paper 2), outlining general government sector performance and agency financial statements
- The Infrastructure Statement 2023/24 (Budget Paper 3), looking at the Government’s infrastructure investment program.
Later in the sitting – after a Question Time that was moved to 2:30pm for this day only – the House engaged in a take note debate concerning the year’s budget estimates and related papers, on the motion of Minister Sharpe. This was an opportunity to begin debate on the policies on which the budget has been based, and related matters. Contributions were heard from members of the Government and Independent the Hon Mark Latham, with the full debate in Hansard here.
Meanwhile, the annual appropriation bills are the key pieces of legislation within the budget. Both the Appropriation Bill 2023 and the Appropriation (Parliament) Bill 2023 remained before the Assembly on Tuesday, together the cognate Treasury and Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2023. They will make their way to the Council once passed in the other House.
Did you know? Traditionally, the passage of the appropriation bills through the Council has been a simple affair, with members engaging in hearty debate before agreeing to the bills. But back in 2020, the Council amended the Appropriation (Parliament) Bill for the very first time – setting in motion a chain of events focused on the Council’s powers concerning ‘money bills’. Read more in this article from 2021’s Budget Week, which unpacks how things unfolded.
Reminder: Last week the Upper House agreed to establish its 2023/24 Budget Estimates inquiry and confirmed the schedule for the initial estimates hearings, starting next Tuesday 24 October. Find the schedule and learn more here.
COMMITTEE REPORTS & GOVERNMENT RESPONSES: TAKE NOTE DEBATES
During the day’s take note debate on committee reports, members spoke to the August 2023 report Feasibility of undergrounding the transmission infrastructure for renewable energy projects, prepared by the State Development Committee. Read the debate in Hansard here.
The following motions were agreed to without debate, during the morning’s formal business:
- Lifeline Australia, moved by the Hon Aileen MacDonald (Liberal)
- Nepalese community and the National Conference of the Non-Resident Nepali Association Australia, moved by the Hon Jacqui Munro (Liberal)
- Sex Worker Pride Day 2023, moved by the Hon Abigail Boyd (The Greens)
DOCUMENTS TABLED AND REPORTED IN THE HOUSE
In addition the budget papers, you can find all other documents tabled and reported in our Tabled Papers Database.