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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2638..


MS GALLAGHER: As far as I am aware, yes, I can. I have sought advice on that and have been advised that those obligations are being met.

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, how can the Canberra community be assured that the Vardon report, with its limited terms of reference, actually dealt with all the possible systemic failures of your department to comply with their statutory responsibilities under the act?

MS GALLAGHER: I disagree with the point Mrs Burke made that the terms of reference were too narrow. I do not have them in front of me, but the first one was to inquire into all aspects that led to this failure, or words to that effect. The last term of reference was to inquire into any other related matter. They are fairly broad terms of reference.

From my understanding, the commissioner had access to all the resources she required, including staff in the department. She sought records, documents and interviews. She sought public submissions. She had interviews with MLAs and with people involved in child protection. Those public submissions I just referred to were considered in her review. I cannot see any reason why an investigation of that sort would not have been able to look at all aspects of the child protection system.

You have got the report in front of you. It is a very broad-ranging report, with comments on a lot of areas where the commissioner, and all of us in this place, would like to see further improvements. Unless there is a particular issue you do not think has been covered, I see that review and the subsequent audit review, which is yet to come, as covering all areas that I am aware need inquiring into.

Canberra central

MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for Planning, Mr Corbell. Minister, can you advise the Assembly of progress in the development of the government's central area strategic implementation program plan?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. The prime objective of this program is to develop and invest in strategies and projects that will reinforce the central area of Canberra as the pre-eminent cultural, commercial and administrative heart of the capital. A clear focus and priority for the program is Civic, and a business plan is being developed that outlines short to long-term actions that encompass a range of issues to reinforce Canberra city as the pre-eminent heart of Canberra. These include issues, Mr Speaker, such as planning and administration, an events program as well as, obviously, capital works.

There has been considerable previous planning investment in the central area from both the Commonwealth and ACT governments. A range of studies has identified a number of systemic issues that have compromised the cohesive development of the central area. So the government's objective, through its economic white paper, through the spatial plan and, indeed, through the Canberra plan overall, is to drive the growth and development of Civic as a prime business centre for Canberra and the region-a place which attracts


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