Thursday, 18 February 2021
Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2020-2021; Second Reading
That this bill be now read a second time.
Today, the government introduces the additional estimates appropriation bills. These bills are:
These bills underpin the government's expenditure decisions.
These bills ensure that there is sufficient appropriation to cover estimates variations related to existing programs—for instance, changes in costs for demand driven programs. These bills also pay for the first-year costs for measures announced in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and subsequently announced new measures.
Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2020-2021 seeks approval for appropriations from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of just over $2.5 billion. This bill is necessary to support the government's COVID-19 recovery strategy and to ensure that life-saving vaccinations against COVID-19 are available for all Australians.
I now outline the more significant amounts provided for in this bill.
Firstly, the bill will provide an additional $701.2 million to the Department of Health, including $539.1 million for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout during the remainder of 2020-21.
Secondly, the bill will provide the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications with an additional $408.2 million for policies and programs to support economic recovery from COVID-19 through improving transport access and supporting regional development and local communities.
Thirdly, the bill provides an additional $253.3 million to the Department of Defence, including $194.8 million to reimburse Defence for foreign exchange movements across 2019-20 and 2020-20, with additional funding being provided for Defence operations including Operation COVID-19 ASSIST.
A further $237.5 million will be provided to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment to assist recent jobseekers impacted by COVID-19 to rejoin the labour market through employment services programs such as Transition to Work and jobactive.
The bill proposes an additional $199.4 million for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including $89.3 million for the ongoing support of Australia's international interests and for supporting Australians through the COVID-19 pandemic when they are overseas—and, importantly, $62.1 million to support COVID-19 vaccine access in the Pacific and South-East Asia.
An additional $142.1 million is proposed for the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. This includes $42.7 million to provide an interim production payment for the major oil refineries that recognises the importance to Australia of the refining sector's fuel security. Funding will also be provided to decommission the Northern Endeavour floating production storage and offtake facility and remediate the Laminaria and Corallina oil fields.
Details of the proposed expenditure are set out in the schedule to the bill and the portfolio additional estimates statements tabled in the parliament.
I commend this bill.