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Wednesday, 15 March 2000
Page: 12857


Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (3:53 PM) —I move:

That these bills be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speeches read as follows

APPROPRIATION BILL (NO. 3) 1999-2000

It is with great pleasure that I introduce Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1999-2000. Together with Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1999-2000, which I shall introduce shortly, these Bills comprise the Additional Estimates for 1999-2000.

In keeping with the introduction of accrual budgeting in the 1999-2000 Budget, this will be the first Additional Estimates presented on an accrual outcome basis.

In the Bills, the Parliament is asked to appropriate monies to meet essential and unavoidable expenditures from the consolidated revenue fund. These monies are additional to the appropriations made for 1999-2000 in Appropriation Acts (Nos 1 and 2) 1999-2000, last Budget.

The additional appropriations in these two Bills total some $2,496m; $1,847m is sought in Appropriation Bill (No. 3) and $649m in Appropriation Bill (No. 4).

These amounts are partly offset by savings made against Appropriation Acts (Nos 1 and 2) 1999-2000 and the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Act 1999-2000.

These savings, amounting to some $949m in gross terms, are detailed in the document entitled “Statement of Savings Expected in Annual Appropriations”, which has been distributed to Honourable members.

After allowing for prospective savings, the provisions represent a net increase of $1,547m in appropriations in 1999-2000, an increase of 3.7% on amounts made available through annual appropriations at the time of the 1999-2000 Budget.

It should be noted that these figures relate only to expenses financed by annual appropriations, which comprise about 25% of Budget total expenses. These figures do not include revisions to estimates of expenses from special appropriations.

I now turn to the main areas for which the Government seeks additional provisions in the Appropriation Bill (No. 3).

This Bill provides authority for meeting payments or expenses on the ordinary annual services of Government. Details of the proposed appropriations are set out in the Schedule to the Bill.

Principal factors contributing to the increase are:

An additional $61m across the portfolios of Defence, Health and Aged Care, Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and Attorney General's for the provision of assistance to East Timor.

This does not include separate supplementation to Defence through an ad hoc annual appropriation to provide for net additional costs.

An additional $80m across the portfolios of Defence, Health and Aged Care and Immigration and Multicultural Affairs for the provision of assistance to Kosovar Refugees.

An additional $740m is attributable to the Department of Defence, and is the result of the transfer of funds from the Capital Investment Programme to fund operational expenditure and the reprofile of the acquisition programme. These changes are being made under the Defence global budgeting arrangements.

An additional $118m to the Australian Tax Office for various administrative costs associated with the implementation of the GST and other reforms associated with A New Tax System.

An additional $43m to the Department of Defence related to Foreign Exchange and Price movements.

An additional $46m to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of the property reforms agreed by the Government last Budget. This will be offset by increased returns and dividends on the Commonwealth's property portfolio.

An additional $92m to the Department of Health and Aged Care resulting from a review of the accounting treatment of grants and personal benefit liabilities for all programmes, in line with ANAO advice.

An additional $20m has also been provided to the Department of Health and Aged Care for rephasing incentive funding under the General Practice Strategy. The funding will be returned to the Budget in the forward years.

An adjustment of $41m to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs to account for the significant increase in illegal immigrants during the 1999 calendar year.

Carryovers in the order of $200m between 1998-1999 and 1999-2000.

The balance of the amount included in Appropriation Bill (No. 3) is made up of minor variations in most departments and agencies.

I commend the Bill to the Senate.

APPROPRIATION BILL (NO. 4) 1999-2000

Appropriation Bill (No. 4) provides additional revenues for agencies to meet:

Expenses in relation to grants to the States under section 96 of the Constitution and for payments to the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory;

Administered expenses; and

Equity injections and loans to agencies as well as administered capital funding and carryovers.

Additional appropriations totalling $649m are sought in Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1999-2000. This is additional to the appropriations made in Appropriation Act (No. 2) 1999-2000 last Budget.

The principal factors contributing to the increase are:

An additional $25m in Transport and Regional Services for the Darwin-Alice Springs rail link.

An additional $36m to the Department of Finance and Administration for funding to the States and Territories under the Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements, including a small component of ex gratia payments for disaster relief.

An additional $50m for an equity injection to the Australian Federal Police to enable it to extinguish accumulated liabilities under the present Australian Federal Police Adjustments Scheme.

Some $208m represents carryovers between 1998-1999 and 1999-2000.

The balance of the amount included in Appropriation Bill (No. 4) is made up of minor variations in most departments and agencies.

I commend the Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator O'Brien) adjourned.