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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 383..


MR BERRY (continuing):

I want the minister to tell us whether or not there have been three reviews of ACT Forests, and I would like him to tell us when these reviews were undertaken and how much each one cost. Will the minister provide copies of all of the reviews to the Assembly?

MR SMYTH: Many reviews of ACT Forests have been done, and I am not sure which three Mr Berry wants. There was a review of the ACT plantation forest estates done by Anutech and Fortech in June of 1990-perhaps the review might have come to somebody over there. There was a review of ACT Forests by Deloitte Ross Tohmatsu that was done in September 1991, and all of these had key recommendations that talked about the management, work practices, underperformance and inefficiencies. In 1991 it talked about securing financial arrangements, reducing overheads, increasing the scale of operation. In 1997 there was a review of government's options for ACT Forests by Price Waterhouse, and of course there have been the recent reviews as well.

MR BERRY: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. We just heard, if I can be permitted-

MR SPEAKER: No preamble, please.

MR BERRY: Will the minister admit that his contribution to that answer is an admission of six years of mismanagement by this government in its failure to address the issues that confront these workers? You have had six years in office to fix this. You cannot keep blaming everybody. Will you acknowledge that this is your fault at last?

MR SPEAKER: I do not want an expression of opinion, Minister.

Mr Berry: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: all I asked the minister to do was to accept that it is his responsibility and his fault.

MR SPEAKER: The minister will answer.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I accept responsibility for the management of ACT Forests. It is clearly in my portfolio responsibilities, and, in the time that I have been the minister, we have been looking at what we can do not just to expand the industry and to run ACT Forests better and make it more productive but to build the entire industry in the region.

Mr Berry: Not good enough.

MR SMYTH: Mr Berry interjects that it is not good enough. There is confidence out there in the industry in the area if we can take it further and reduce the overheads, but the key element is access to timber. The timber in the ACT is managed by ACT Forests. If ACT Forests does not perform, if ACT Forests cannot reduce its overhead, then what is at risk is the expansion. We have seen at the mill in Hume that they are willing to put in technology and employ more people on the basis that we can deliver the raw material, which is the timber.

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, would you ask him just to stick to the supplementary question? I just want him to acknowledge his blame for this.


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