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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2876..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

this issue. There is some expectation, when you are a minister, that your department meet its statutory obligations. I had no reason to believe that they weren't meeting their statutory obligations. In fact, the Vardon report goes back through history to 1996 where a commitment was given by the then minister, Mr Stefaniak, to hand on these reports to the Community Advocate. He didn't do so, and didn't do so for five years before the government changed hands. So there is an expectation that your department meet its statutory obligations.

At the first point that I was notified that my department was not meeting its statutory obligations-and we've been through this a number of times in this place-I acted immediately. That is reflected not only in this government's reaction and, I guess, reform process that has been under way since January but also in the Vardon inquiry and the Vardon report.

In relation to whether or not the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support-I think your question is-returns to the department of education, in the Vardon report there was a recommendation that, during the implementation of the recommendations, it exist attached to the Chief Minister's Department; and that following the implementation, decisions be made about where its permanent future will be. On balance, from what we have seen in the past and the directions in what Vardon says and, I guess, where this government wants to head in relation to the importance of children and young people, I can only see children and young people having their own place in the bureaucracy rather than being attached to a large department which, as we all know, over the past few months has brought some criticism.

MRS BURKE: I thank the minister for her answer. I take it from that that it will be a separate entity. Why don't you consider, therefore, that the chief executive of your department should be accountable for, in your words, "the ongoing administrative failures"-and I reiterate those words "administrative failures"-"related to the care and protection of children in the ACT"?

MS GALLAGHER: Mr Speaker, I have already answered this question on a number of occasions, and I have nothing further to add.

Planning

MRS DUNNE: My question is directed to the Acting Minister for Planning. At the 2004 Boral excellence in building awards last Friday-a gala event at which most of the major building industry players in the ACT were present-you represented Mr Corbell. In relation to planning in the ACT, you said, "We're working on it." Later you gave the following assurance: "Trust us; we'll get it right." This sounds like a variation on the famous line-or lie: "Trust me, I'm from the government." Minister, now that you are the acting planning minister, what will you do to get it right?

MR QUINLAN: It surprises me; there seems to be an on-and-off sense of humour on the other side of the house. Today we watch them titter like primary school children in a group giggle-as a defence mechanism-when a fellow of my size makes a relatively light-hearted speech, which I think the people at the time appreciated-

Mrs Dunne: The people around me did not think it was light-hearted.


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