Government transparency is still essential


Sir – While the Territory Labor Government is rightly responding to the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, it shouldn’t be absolved from proper transparency and accountability as it rolls out its response measures.
When Parliament sat two weeks ago, the Labor Government passed appropriations totalling more than $3.4 billion to be released from the Central Holding Authority.
We are dealing with an unprecedented crisis and the Labor Government needs to be given the opportunity to be agile to save lives, keep Territorians safe, and support businesses and jobs.
But that doesn’t mean the Government shouldn’t be open, accountable and transparent with this spending [but] the Labor Government needs to explain very clearly how it is going to account for its expenditure going forward.
I have written to Treasurer Nicole Mansion asking for clarification on a range of issues around how it plans on transparently accounting for the budget.
For example, the Government says it has committed to quarterly reporting, but it’s unclear in what form or level of detail it will be.
How will agency performance and overspends be handled by departments? A Treasurer’s Advance for $300 million is included in the Supply Bill. How much of this advance has been allocated and how much remains?
While the official Budget has been cancelled, seemingly until after the election, will there be any estimates process for this allocation, or any scrutiny by the by Assembly on this spending at all?
The seriousness of this crisis doesn’t give the Government a licence to cut corners with Territory taxpayers’ money.
Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro (pictured).


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