Senate debates

Monday, 23 March 2020

Bills

Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2019-2020, Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2019-2020; Second Reading

10:35 am

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Trade) Share this | Hansard source

I move:

That these bills be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speeches read as follows—

Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2019-2020 seeks approval for appropriations from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of just over $3.310 billion. 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. This year these bills feature several bushfire-related initiatives that were announced after MYEFO.

I now outline the more significant amounts provided for in this bill.

Firstly, the bill will provide the Department of Home Affairs with $948.4 million to continue implementing the government's border protection policies and support people impacted by the recent bushfires.

Secondly, the bill will provide the Department of Social Services a further $592.6 million for higher-than-expected participation in the Disability Employment Services program and additional emergency relief and financial counselling for communities affected by the recent bushfire emergency.

Thirdly, the bill will provide the Department of Defence with additional funding of $488.8 million, including $87.9 million for the Australian Defence Force's contribution to the bushfire response through Operation Bushfire Assist. Additional funding is also being provided foreign exchange supplementation due to movement in exchange rates, under 'no win/no loss' funding arrangements.

The bill also provides $287.5 million to Services Australia to support individuals, families and communities achieve greater self-sufficiency.

Further, the bill proposes an additional $170.6 million for the Department of Health, including $53.2 million to support access to medicines and medical treatments, $68.2 million in departmental funding to support the delivery of government programs and $30.2 million towards mental, Indigenous and preventative health activities.

The bill also provides $287.5 million to Services Australia to support individuals, families and communities achieve greater self-sufficiency.

Further, the bill also proposes an additional $170.6 million for the Department of Health including $53.2 million to support access to medicines and medical treatments, $68.2 million in departmental funding to support the delivery of government programs and $30.2 million towards mental, Indigenous and preventative health activities.

The bill provides an additional $66.2 million for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, including for wildlife and habitat recovery in response to the recent bushfire emergency, busting congestion in the environmental assessment process, responding to African swine fever and strengthening the Australian Antarctic program.

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 to the chamber.

Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2019-2020, along with Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2019-2020, which was introduced earlier, are the additional estimates appropriation bills for this financial year.

This bill seeks approval for appropriations from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of approximately $2.171 billion. These bills also ensure there is sufficient appropriation to cover estimates variations related to existing programs.

I now outline the most significant items provided for in this bill.

Importantly, the bill provides $1.567 billion to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications primarily for drawdowns for the Commonwealth's loan to NBN Co Limited of $1.2 billion; equity injections of $176.9 million for the Australian Rail Track Corporation and the Western Sydney Airport and $166.9 million for the Drought Response, Resilience and Preparedness Plan.

The bill also provides $247.9 million to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, including $235.0 million for loans through the Regional Investment Corporation to farmers and small businesses affected by drought conditions.

Details of the proposed expenditure are set out in the Schedule 1 to the bill and the Portfolio Additional Estimate Statements tabled in the parliament.

I commend this bill.

Comments

Charlie Schroeder
Posted on 24 Mar 2020 12:59 pm (Report this comment)

The wildlife part of this bill, referring to clearing up congestion in wildlife matters, does not mean that shortcuts should be taken, and wildlife suffer. That has already been happening too much and is obvious. The assessment of wildlife issues should be thorough and they should ensure that wildlife is not disadvantaged.

Wildlife have no voice, they have no weapons or poisons and they do not actually hurt human beings. They do a great deal of good and are part of the environment because they contribute, even if human beings can't see it or think they can do it better. All matters of wildlife should have a panel of people with hands on experience who decide wildlife issues, and do so with diligence.

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