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PBO a great step forward for democracy: Brown

Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown has welcomed legislation to establish an independent Parliamentary Budget Office, which will provide non-partisan costings of policies and advice on budget and fiscal settings.

“The establishment of a Parliamentary Budget Office is a great step forward for democracy in Australia, and lends greater accountability and transparency to political promises made by all parties.

“The PBO has come about as a direct result of the Agreement between the Gillard government and the Greens, and is another example of a solid outcome for the Greens through negotiation with this minority government,” said Senator Brown.

The bill introduced by the Government today expands the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998 to apply to any party with more than 5 parliamentary members, and will mean that the Greens will be able to request costings from either Treasury and Finance or the Parliamentary Budget Office during the election period. These costings will be made public. Outside of the election period, submissions to the PBO remain confidential until such time as the submitting party makes it available.

Previously the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998 only applied to the Government and the Opposition.

This year’s budget allocated the PBO $24.9 million over the coming four years.

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