Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1201..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
and I take it, by Mr Osborne's shocked look, that he does not remember it being there either. So I might ask him to have his office have a look at the report in the local newspaper which said that we have recommended that. There are some times when I wish I had recommended something but I didn't this time. It is a great recommendation but we didn't make it, so let the record show that.
Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I will address my remarks initially to the consultation process. Clearly, in the previous year we got 10 submissions. That is a great open process. We asked the community to engage in the draft budget process and 10 people decided to make a submission to the committee. This year, on the other hand, five did. Now, either they are bored witless with the process and do not want to be engaged, or the consultation process advertisements were not wide enough. I suspect the latter to be the case, but also it might have to do with the government's attitude to the process.
Let me paraphrase a couple of things that I heard today from the Chief Minister and Treasurer when he tabled the government's response to the Select Committee on the 2001-2002 Budget. I think this is a window into Mr Humphries' commitment to community consultation. He said that this government has a strong commitment to consulting with the ACT community. I quote from the response to the committee's recommendations. Recommendation 4, paragraph 2.21:
The committee recommends that the Government actively seek community suggestions about how the budget consultation process can be improved.
The first thing the government's response says is "Irrelevant". This government thinks that community suggestions on how the budget consultation process will work is irrelevant. Let us go to another response from the government:
... the Government supports the concept that ... if there were to be any new revenue raising initiatives, the community should be involved in broader discussions concerning these initiatives.
A great move. But it goes on to say:
However, the existing policy of confidentiality should be maintained during the development of policy relating to any initiative.
So on the one hand you say, "Let's go and ask them," and on the other hand you say, "Let's not tell them anything because it's confidential." That's fabulous that is, too.
Then there is recommendation 39 by the committee which says:
The committee recommends that the Auditor-General conduct a performance audit of the performance measures included in the budget papers and that the audit include an evaluation of how well the performance measures meet the information needs of Members of the Legislative Assembly.
I repeat, "how well the performance measures meet the information needs of members of the Legislative Assembly," and what is the government's response? "Not agreed".