Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Hon Ben Wyatt LLB MSc MLA

Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Aboriginal Affairs; Lands

    New laws to protect the Budget from COVID-19

    17/03/2020 3:30 PM
     
    • Bill introduced to Parliament to ensure financial supply can continue, if 2020-21 Budget is not passed due to COVID-19
    • Precautionary measure to ensure important public services will continue

    The McGowan Government has today introduced precautionary legislation to ensure Government spending on key services and infrastructure can continue in the event the State Budget is delayed due to COVID-19.

     

    The appropriation will provide for approximately 6 months' financial supply for the 2020-21 financial year.

     

    It means that financial supply will be maintained until the end of the year in the event that the Budget appropriation Bills are not passed in the usual timeframe.

     

    This will ensure crucial public services can continue to operate and that all public sector workers such as nurses, teachers, police officers and public transport staff can continue to be paid.

     

    The 2020-21 State Budget is due to be handed down on May 14 and the Financial Management Act 2006 does provide two months' automatic supply if the Budget isn't passed before the end of the financial year.

     

    However, given the uncertainty of COVID-19 and its impact on the community, the State Government believes this precautionary measure is prudent.

     

    The introduction of a Supply Bill is not uncommon, having occurred most recently in 2013 and 2017 with the March State elections resulting in budgets being handed down later than usual.

     

    The Opposition has offered in-principle support for the legislation.

     

    Comments attributed to Treasurer Ben Wyatt:

     

    "This is a precautionary measure that will allow supply to continue, in the event that the State Budget is not able to be passed due to COVID-19.

     

    "We know that COVID-19 is an evolving situation, and the State Government has been working hard to prepare our State to respond to every potential scenario.

     

    "This is a sensible measure that will ensure important public services will continue to be delivered to the community and our hard working teachers, nurses and public sector workers can continue to serve the community in responding to COVID-19.

     

    "While the challenges facing the State may be unprecedented, this Supply Bill isn't, having occurred most recently in 2017, after the State election when the Budget wasn't handed down until September."

     

    Minister's office - 6552 5900