Wednesday 19 November, 2014

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (12:27): I also rise today to support the Public Finance and Audit (Treasurer's Instructions) Amendment Bill 2014. My comments will be in a similar light to those of the members for Stuart, Hammond and Schubert. I will certainly support the bill, but I too will seek some explanation, as have the members before, from the Treasurer, hopefully in his closing remarks. Oversight of public statutory authorities is extremely important, and it is imperative for this parliament to do so. As the member for Stuart highlighted, there are a number of questions about the bill that remain unanswered, and I welcome the Treasurer's explanations.

The bill, which was tabled on 29 October, clarifies many matters relating to the application and scope of Treasurer's Instructions and does make minor amendments of a statutory law revision nature. I understand that the amendments do seek to improve the general understanding of the relationship between Treasurer's Instructions and provisions of the act, which provides a public authority with various functions and powers.

I understand that WorkCover is a public authority for the purpose of the Public Finance and Audit Act. It is extremely important and it is intended to be subject to the requirements of that act and Treasurer's Instructions.

I understand that we have requested details of the government's legal advice on this issue. The government advises that the Solicitor-General disagrees with the view on WorkCover's interpretation and that the bill is intended to ensure that WorkCover, and any other public authority for that matter, has to comply with the Public Finance and Audit Act and Treasurer's Instructions. I have been told that we have asked for details of the government's legal advice. Whilst I understand that these things are subject to all kinds of privilege, I would just seek a little bit more clarification in regard to this issue from the Treasurer.

Subject to this being noncontentious, I will be quite happy to support the bill. As I said, oversight of statutory authorities is extremely important. Otherwise, the bill is quite concise, it is common sense, and I would be happy to support what looks to be quite a pragmatic approach here. I commend the bill to the house.