Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1630..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
operations. I understand Mr Tonkin and the Government Solicitor's Office have been involved in resolving these issues. Could you tell us what progress has been made?
MR STANHOPE: Ms Tucker, there are a range of allegations currently alive in relation to the operation of the University of Canberra Union. The allegations have been made to the ACT Ombudsman, the ACT Auditor-General and the Chief Minister's Department. As you indicate, Ms Tucker, the allegations have been made by members of the university's Postgraduate Students Association, who are seeking to have the allegations investigated pursuant to the provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure Act.
Before commencing an action, legal advice from the ACT Government Solicitor was required to clarify the application of the Public Interest Disclosure Act to the University of Canberra. These issues have been progressed through the Chief Minister's Department and the department of justice, and legal advice was received on 6 May by the Chief Minister's Department. The import of that advice was that the Public Interest Disclosure Act does not in fact apply to the university.
The vice-chancellor of the university was advised on 11 May last week that the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1994 does not apply to the University of Canberra. The Chief Minister's Department has invited a response from the vice-chancellor to the information to that effect. At this stage the Chief Minister's Department is awaiting further advice from the university in relation to the issue.
I should in conclusion make the point that whilst the Postgraduate Students Association has at this stage sought to pursue the allegations through the Ombudsman, the Auditor-General and the Chief Minister's Department, there are potentially other avenues available to it, particularly directly with the university. But this is the stage that has been reached in respect of the ACT government's involvement with this issue.
MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. If the Public Interest Disclosure Act does not cover the University of Canberra, do you intend to change this situation?
MR STANHOPE: I think our investigation of this matter in terms of the issues that have been raised with us and the allegations that have been made by the Postgraduate Students Association does raise a question around the efficacy of the act, and whether or not it should cover the university. As a result of that issue being raised through these allegations and this investigation, I am more than happy to ask the department to pursue the appropriateness of the act extending to the University of Canberra.
Gungahlin Drive extension
MRS DUNNE: My question is to Mr Corbell in his capacity as the Minister for Planning. Minister, on ABC radio this morning the chair of the Australian Institute of Sport, Mr Peter Bartels, waxed lyrical about the $65 million that the federal government is planning to spend on the AIS in Canberra. When he was asked about the impact of Labor's plan to build a road outside the AIS, Mr Bartels said:
If you were about to build the best institute, sports institute in the world, you wouldn't build it beside a freeway.