Appropriation (Parliament 2017-2018) Bill 2017

I am very pleased to be speaking on the Appropriation (Parliament 2017–2018) Bill 2017 and that we are actually dealing with it, notwithstanding it being very late in the day, as mentioned by Mr Rich-Phillips.
Friday, June 23, 2017 - 12:45pm
Speaker:
Sue Pennicuik

Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) — I am very pleased to be speaking on the Appropriation (Parliament 2017–2018) Bill 2017 and that we are actually dealing with it, notwithstanding it being very late in the day, as mentioned by Mr Rich-Phillips. I agree that there is no reason why we could not have dealt with this bill and the Appropriation (2017–2018) Bill 2017 yesterday. No, we dealt with a very important bill yesterday — the Bail Amendment (Stage One) Bill 2017, which has a commencement date of 1 July 2018 so is not in any way an urgent bill.

However, quite apart from the detail that is in the schedules of the bill with regard to funding, I just want to go to the issue raised by Mr Rich-Phillips with regard to committees, particularly upper-house committees. At their appearance at the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee's budget estimates hearings, the presiding officers produced a PowerPoint which outlined the work of the Legislative Council standing committees as opposed to the joint investigatory committees. The Legislative Council's three standing committees ran 14 inquiries, tabled seven reports, received 5639 submissions and held 195 public hearings, as opposed to the nine joint investigatory committees, which held 15 inquiries and tabled 18 reports but only received 825 submissions and held 222 public hearings, so you can see the difference in the workload. The secretariat support for the Legislative Council committees is just over 20 per cent of the number of staff allocated to the joint investigatory committees — 7.6 staff as opposed to 34.2.

I would also say that in terms of the joint investigatory committees they do a lot of predictable work. The work that they do every year, important and onerous as it might be — the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee, the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee and the Electoral Matters Committee — is pretty well the same work. It is good to see that there is some funding, and there will probably need to be even more funding, directed to the Legislative Council standing committees to perform their scrutiny function, so we will support the amendment for that.