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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 357..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

It goes on and on. Of course, we did have the situation of the two Liberal chief ministers who kept issuing assurances that they were open, that they did take responsibility, and we saw how much responsibility was taken over Bruce and the implosion. The Auditor criticised the then government in his report on Bruce Stadium. He repeats that criticism in this report where he says:

The Audit would note that the responsibilities of ministers and chief executives in regard to the Act are not adequately met simply by issuing written authorisations to decision makers. They must ensure that authorised officers are capable of administering the Act and that the decisions of authorised officers are monitored effectively.

Of course, that is the sorry history of that party's stewardship of the ACT. That is the contempt with which they administered this primary piece of legislation determined to ensure openness and accountability. That was the contempt with which the previous government treated the Freedom of Information Act. It was utter and complete contempt of the law-a law that was in the view of the Auditor-General in fact breached regularly.

Consultancies

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Chief Minister. Mr Stanhope, in published Labor Party policy in the run-up to the election, the Labor Party undertook a review "of contracting procedures so that ACT firms were not disadvantaged in bidding for ACT Government contracts". In light of that, I note that you have announced consultancies in the disability program, in education and in planning and land management and that most of these consultants that you have appointed to date have come from interstate. Are these appointments at odds with the stated Labor Party policy? Does the Stanhope Labor government have a policy of preferring interstate contractors for its work? Were local contractors given an opportunity to bid for such consultancies; and, so far, how much have these consultancies cost?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question. There are some aspects of that question that I will have to take on notice. But certainly I am happy to speak in principle about the appointments that have been made. Yes, it is true that the government has engaged Ms Anne Cross to assist the work of furthering the development of a draft government response to the Gallop report.

I think it is probably relevant that I outline the context in which Ms Cross will work. Ms Cross is, of course, a noted national expert in relation to the delivery of disability services, to the extent, indeed, that one of the Gallop recommendations is that the government look at employing Ms Cross in the very role in which she has been employed. It is actually a recommendation of the Gallop report, Mrs Dunne, which I think you will be seeing in half an hour or so.

So, to some extent, we are pursuing a position put to us by Justice Gallop in his report-that the government do look to the employment of Ms Cross. As I say, she is an acknowledged national expert in relation to disability service issues. As I say, it was Justice Gallop himself who recommended that the government look to a person such as Ms Cross.


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