Standing Committee on Estimates and Financial Operations — Eighty-second Report —
“The Local Projects Local Jobs Program and the Establishment of a Parliamentary Budget Office”
Resumed from 25 June.
Hon ALISON XAMON: I move —
That the report be noted.
Comments and speeches by various members
Hon ALISON XAMON: In the remaining minutes I will make some comments about the parliamentary budget office. I understand that other members want to make some comments about the number of commitments given, strangely enough, in marginal seats, as opposed to other seats. I will let other people talk about that. I thank my colleague Hon Diane Evers for having the foresight to have included within this inquiry the need to address the issue of a parliamentary budget office. This is something that the Greens have been calling for election after election and we are very keen to see this matter progress.
I also want to thank the Standing Committee on Estimates and Financial Operations for the thoughtful parameters that it put around the idea of a parliamentary budget office. As has already been written in the recommendations, if a parliamentary budget office is to be created, it will be pointless if it is simply going to be an arm of the executive. The Greens would have no intention of utilising that and having it compromised in the way that people are concerned about how close the Department of the Premier and Cabinet is in terms of the management of parliamentary entitlements. That is a story for another day. But the idea that we would have an independent office that would be able to provide costed advice and how that would actually work is, I think, an eminently sensible idea.
It is a disappointment that such an entity does not already exist in Western Australia. I will be very concerned if there is no commitment to establish a parliamentary budget office along the lines of what has been explained. I note that the committee’s recommendations were about not only the need to have the parliamentary budget office for the purposes of costing election platforms—which I think everyone should agree is a very positive thing to do and would allow for transparency around the election campaigns themselves—but also having an ongoing role in costing services to members, as well as parliamentary committees.
We need to look at establishing such an entity that is independent. It is necessary that it be nonpartisan and it also needs to answer to the Parliament and not to the executive. I hope that this is seriously considered as we move forward. That element of the report, the whole of chapter 7, ensures that this report will necessarily have a life beyond this term of Parliament, and I hope it will continue to be progressed.
Consideration of report adjourned, pursuant to standing orders.
Progress reported and leave granted to sit again, pursuant to standing orders.