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Tuesday, 22 August 1972
Page: 230

Senator COTTON (New South WalesMinister for Civil Aviation) - I seek leave to make a statement relating to the presentation of the Treasurer's Statement of Receipts and Expenditure for 1971-72.

The ACTING PRESIDENT- Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Senator COTTON - Although it is not the normal practice to comment on the presentation of the Statement of Receipts and Expenditure, I do so on this occasion because I wish to draw the attention of honourable senators to certain changes in the form of the Statement and to explain their significance. These changes have been made on advice of my officers following an in-depth review of the information required to be included in the Statement. The changes, which were discussed by Treasury officers with the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, make for a more logical and informative presentation of the statement required to be prepared by the Treasurer under section 50 of the Audit Act 1901-1969. Honourable senators will, as a result, be better informed because of the material now contained in that statement.

In Table No. 5 - Expenditure Classified Under Heads of Appropriation - the heading for each department has been altered to show clearly the funds appropriated to that department under each annual Appropriation Act and the amount, if any, provided from the Advance to the Treasurer. The total actual expenditure has then been deducted from the total funds provided, the resultant figure being the total amount unexpended and which lapsed at 30th June in accordance with section 36 of the Audit Act 1901-1969. In section III of the Statement - the Trust Fund - several changes have been made.

Table No. 6 lists all heads of Trust Fund and the trust accounts established under section 62a of the Audit Act. It shows the balance of each account at the beginning of the financial year, the total cash transactions and the closing balance. This year the table lists the accounts in the groupings adopted in 1968-69 following a recommendation of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts. Another important change is to show the balance at 30th June 1972 according to whether that balance is held in cash in the Commonwealth Public Account or invested. Previously all investments of the Trust Fund were included in a composite table - Table No. 13 in 1970- 71 - which did not disclose the authority for the investments. This table has been replaced by new tables Nos 7 to 12 inclusive.

Table No. 7 lists only the investments made by the Treasurer pursuant to section 62b of the Audit Act 1901-1969. Table No. 8 brings together the deposits lodged with the Treasurer under the provisions of the Insurance Act 1932-1966, the Life Insurance Act 1945-1965 and the Australian Capital Territory Trustee Companies Ordinance 1947-1968. Tables Nos 9 and 10 set out details of the cash transactions and the investments of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund and the Superannuation Fund respectively, which are made by the statutory boards under the authority of the relevant legislation. Because these boards must themselves report to the Parliament annually the view is now taken that the presentation of this information should be left to them as soon as they are able to present their reports in the Budget session. It can be expected that Tables Nos 9 and 10 will disappear from the Treasurer's Statement next year.

The receipts and payments of these funds flow through the Commonwealth Public Account because of the integration of accounting arrangements. For this reason, the balances now shown in Tables Nos 6, 9 and 10 report cash or uninvested balances of the funds and do not any longer include the invested balances, which of course, appear as assets in the financial statements of the respective boards. These invested balances do not form part of the Treasurer's Accounts and this form of presentation is designed to provide a more precise statement of the position.

Tables Nos 11 and 12 similarly show the cash transactions, uninvested balances held in the Trust Fund and details of the investments of the Ministerial Retiring Allowances Fund and the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Fund made under the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Act 1948-1968. These tables will continue to be included in the Treasurer's Statement as no report is made to Parliament by the controlling trust. Omitted from this year's statement are the former Tables No. 9 - National Welfare Fund - and No. 12 - War Service Homes Insurance Account. Information in respect of the National Welfare Fund canbe found in the table published on page 25 of the attachments to the Treasurer's Budget Speech and full details of the War Service Homes Insurance Account are provided in the report of the Directors of War Service Homes. It is unnecessary duplication, therefore, to continue to include this information in the Treasurer's Statement.

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