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Supply Bill (No. 3) and (No. 4) (Nos. 32 & 33) of 2021

Wednesday 25 August 2021, Second Reading speech

[12.30 p.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - My contribution will be brief. I thank the Leader for the informative briefing. It was really good and certainly answered a lot of questions. This bill is in addition to the existing Supply Bills (No.1) and (No.2) and, we are told, is merely contingency to ensure the services of government continue in the event of a state lockdown. If parliament is unable to sit to pass and ultimately get Royal Assent for the appropriation bills, this supply bill and the next supply bill allow government to continue to the end of January. If not required, it will be subsumed by the appropriation bills.

These bills are not an addition, as is my understanding, to the appropriation bills. The Appropriation Act will continue forth from there. I believe this is a prudent measure as a contingency based on recent experiences with other states and if that were to occur here we would at least be prepared for the next few months. Obviously, we do not want that to happen and we hope it will not happen but, having seen what is happening in New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT, and the other states that all of a sudden are involved with small numbers that increase, I believe that it is a sensible measure. We must continue to pay our public servants and to operate in some form.

The amount required here, we were advised in briefings, is 58 per cent or seven-twelfths, taking us up to the end of January if, we were told, the government is unable to consult with agencies given the short lead time in order to calculate this and to prepare the legislative documents that received agency approbation initially. Given it is seven-twelfths of last year's approach, it is believed there should be enough to keep things ticking over until the end of January.

As mentioned, it is important to ensure that we can continue to pay our police, our doctors, our nurses, our ambulance officers and other public servants should a shutdown occur. To reiterate, we have been told that this obviously depends on timing. None of us has crystal balls and should the budget appropriation bills get passed quickly and be enacted, and once the appropriate bills get Royal Assent, they will incorporate these bills. Section 6 of the Supply Bill makes it quite clear so I certainly support the bill before us.

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