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Thursday, 26 February 1987
Page: 738

Senator COATES —I seek leave to table a submission made to the Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations and to make a statement about it.

Leave granted.

Senator COATES —I table a document entitled `Second submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations concerning changes in the presentation of the appropriations and departmental explanatory notes and related issues', from the Department of Finance. In view of the hour I seek leave to incorporate my statement in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows-

The Committee has presented two reports to the Senate on changes in the presentation of the appropriations and departmental explanatory notes, the first in April 1985 and the second in December 1985.

In its second report the Committee commented that a worthwhile assessment of program budgeting, and its implications for parliamentary scrutiny, would need to await the development of sufficient parliamentary experience with the new format, especially that of Senate Estimates Committees.

Nine departments presented estimates for 1986-87 in the program budgeting format. In their subsequent reports to the Senate, the relevant Estimates Committees commented on issues arising from the changes to explanatory notes.

The Department of Finance has now made a second major submission to the Committee which addresses, amongst other points, the Estimates Committees' comments.

The Committee has no comment to make on the submission at this stage, but has decided to table it now so that it may be disseminated as widely as possible. The Committee recommends the submission to Estimates Committees and other parliamentary committees involved in the scrutiny of expenditure. The Committee also recommends it to those who are interested in this important area of financial administration, or who are responsible for implementing the changes in the format of explanatory notes for departments and other agencies.

I have arranged to send copies of the submission to the Chairs of all Estimates Committees. Copies have also been made available to the Senate Records Office for those interested in the subject.