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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 4019..


MS DUNDAS (continuing):

The committee hopes that the implementation of triple bottom line reporting will factor in this issue of short-term versus longer term considerations.

The government's policy makes clear that sustainability is not a destination point; it is an ongoing journey. The committee concurs with this policy stance and in many respects the ACT is still at the beginning of this journey. There is an important role for future assemblies to monitor the government's progress on this journey and to ensure that good intentions become good practice, which, in turn, translates into real and measurable outcomes for the ACT community.

MRS DUNNE: I seek leave to speak briefly on the statement.

Leave granted.

MRS DUNNE: I feel, essentially as the author of this inquiry at the outset, that I should say something. When this started out, when the Assembly in April 2002 referred this matter to the planning and environment committee, it was fairly obvious that it was a pretty large task. In a sense I and the rest of the members of the Assembly ended up biting off more than we could chew by giving a very large bite to the planning and environment committee to chew over.

I think that what Ms Dundas says is correct. This is the beginning of the process. At the time the energy minister was pretty unflattering about the importance of it. It is undoubtedly the case that the mere fact that the planning and environment committee was doing work and was getting people together in the one room to talk about these things meant that there was some impetus in the government. We have actually seen a little bit of a turnaround in the attitude of the minister for energy on some of these issues which will come to fruition, hopefully on Wednesday, when we see one small cog of the process coming together.

I think that the clear message from the committee's inquiries and from Ms Dundas's statement is that it should not be in here, that perhaps the next Assembly should be looking at these matters, not through a standing committee but through a select committee which is resourced with some scientific grunt so that we actually progress the matters that have been raised and started by the planning and environment committee. Because of the nature of its workload it found itself always having to put this inquiry on the backburner while we did more pressing things. It might say something about the structure of the committee system that perhaps we need a planning committee and an environment committee or, alternatively, important pieces of work such as this should have been done by a select committee.

Public Accounts-Standing Committee

Statement by chair

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition): Pursuant to standing order 246A, I would like to make a statement relating to a new inquiry of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Leave granted.


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