Published: 25 March 2015

Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I do not have any particular issues with this because it is not earth‑shattering, by any stretch.  It may be for some, I guess, but it does not appear to be from here.  I have a few points I want to clarify with the Leader.  She may be able to address them in her response.

As the Leader said, the primary responsibility of the State Grants Commission is to make recommendations to the Treasurer concerning the distribution of Australian Government financial assistance grants under the provision of the Commonwealth's Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995.

The Commonwealth has had input into the number of members on the commission over the years.  Originally it was three, then it was put up to four when the Commonwealth requested that there be two members of the commission who were representatives of local government.  Does the Federal Government have any say about commission members - about who is appointed?  It is not clear to me.  It seems the stipulation is that there are two people who are nominated to the minister for appointment from local government.  I would like to know what role the Commonwealth plays in that.  Do they have any input?  Do they have power of veto?  It seems they were quite strong in the need for two members who represented local government.  That was their expectation.  Do they have any power to do that?

Increasing the term of appointment from three to five years is sensible because three years is a short period and if people are going to get some continuity that is a sensible approach.  I appreciate this is one of the acts that the Government undertook to try to reduce the numbers of boards and committees.  I would like to know how much the saving is, how much is one person being paid and what is the saving?  Every bit helps, I accept that, but I am interested in the saving that is going to be made.

I do not think it is earth-shattering - I hope not - because if it is, maybe we need to look a what they are being paid.  I would like the Leader to provide information about what the saving is.  It is good to review these commissions and boards to see if they can be more streamlined, structured in a different way to save money, but also maintain efficiency.  I do not see there will be any decline in the efficiency and performance of the State Grants Commission through this amendment but I would like some feedback to those questions.

[12.16 p.m.]

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