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Thursday, 7 February 2013
Page: 387


Mr GRAY (BrandSpecial Minister of State and Minister for the Public Service and Integrity) (09:37): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

There are two additional estimates appropriations bills this year: Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2012-13 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2012-2013.

The additional estimates bills seek appropriation authority from the parliament for the additional expenditure of money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

These appropriations are sought to meet requirements that have arisen since the last budget, as well as to take into account impacts on Australia's economic and fiscal outlook from the global economy.

The total additional appropriation being sought through additional estimates Appropriation Bill (No. 3) and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) this year is just over $1.27 billion.

The recent Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (also known as MYEFO) identified several factors that will have implications for Australia's economic outlook.

And yet despite pressures on the Australian economic and fiscal outlook, Australia continues to outperform the major advanced economies in terms of economic growth, while Australia has maintained a relatively low unemployment rate and strong public finances.

Australia's trading partners in the still fast-growing Asian region are expected to record solid growth in aggregate, which is expected to have a positive impact on Australia's economic growth prospects.

Turning now to Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2012-2013; the total appropriation being sought in this bill is $600,797,000.

This proposed appropriation arises from: changes in the estimates of program expenditure; variations in the timing of payments; increases in forecasted program take-up; and policy decisions taken by the government since the last budget.

I will now outline the major appropriations proposed in the bill:

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations would receive, if this bill is passed, approximately $85 million towards the support for the childcare system program.

The bill would also provide the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations with just over $48 million, primarily to support increased claims which were received before 5 December 2012, for assistance under the General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS). GEERS provides assistance to employees who lost their employment and entitlements due to the liquidation or bankruptcy of their employer.

From 5 December 2012, GEERS was superseded by the Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme with entitlements enshrined in legislation and supported through a special appropriation.

The Attorney-General's Department would receive approximately $60 million, mainly in relation to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The bill seeks to provide the Department of Immigration and Citizenship with approximately $37 million, primarily for offshore asylum seeker management purposes, as well as for visa compliance and status resolution.

The bill would also provide the Department of Immigration and Citizenship with around $23 million, mainly for visa and migration services and refugee settlement.

The Department of Human Services would be provided with approximately $31 million, mainly in relation to changed estimates of service delivery costs totalling $20 million and an additional $5 million reimbursed to that department against the 2011-2012 reconciliation of the Centrelink funding model.

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service would be appropriated approximately $24 million, primarily for increased border protection capability.

The bill would provide the Department of Health and Ageing with approximately $26 million as part of its commitment to support Tasmania's health system to address challenges caused by Tasmania's ageing population, high rates of chronic disease and constraints in the state health system, as well as to equip it to meet future challenges. This investment will also better position Tasmania to meet the goals and targets of national health reform.

The bill would provide the Australian Taxation Office with approximately $19 million, mainly in relation to targeted tax compliance activities and the transfer of lost superannuation member accounts to the Australian Taxation Office.

The bill would provide the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism with $14 million for additional establishment costs for the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator.

The remaining amounts that appear in Appropriation Bill (No. 3) relate to estimates variations, minor reclassifications and other smaller measures.

Debate adjourned.