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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4332..


MS GALLAGHER: Mr Speaker, I cannot answer that question. It was about comments that Mr Quinlan made.

MR SPEAKER: You have to direct it to Mr Quinlan if you want to ask questions about Mr Quinlan.

Emergency services

MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Before I start to ask the question, could I say good luck in your retirement, Bill. Minister, you have said that $28 million has been allocated for emergency services over three years, including a capital injection of $23.5 million to upgrade communications. I understand that that capital injection included $10.5 million to fund 16 base radio stations, the minimum needed to urgently cover the ACT's emergency communications needs. Despite the $10.5 million being appropriated to provide 16 base radio stations, only five have been ordered and I understand only another five have been identified for future purchase. Minister, where has the unallocated $3.5 million gone to and what now is it earmarked for? Has it in fact been misspent on consultancy contract blowouts?

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I can say that it has not gone into my retirement fund. Mr Pratt, I will have a look at the bookkeeping or have someone do that for me, and I will get a report back to you.

I can assure you that things are going very well with the Emergency Services Authority. I think I spent some time yesterday talking about all the additional much needed resources that we have put into that organisation. I do not keep a person tab on the bookkeeping.

Public interest disclosure

MS TUCKER: My question is directed to the Chief Minister. It relates to the Public Interest Disclosure Act and comes from a slightly different perspective from that of the opposition. The PID Act makes requirements of the agency within which public interest disclosures are made. The other proper authorities identified in the Act are the Ombudsman and the Auditor-General.

Could the Chief Minister assure the Assembly that the current review will address concerns that, first, the powers, policies and resources of the Ombudsman and the Auditor-General-and the objects of their acts-are not sufficient to ensure a person making a disclosure will be protected from unlawful reprisal; and, secondly, PID investigations cannot be completed in a timely manner?

MR STANHOPE: I acknowledge Ms Tucker's very deep interest in and commitment to the public interest disclosure legislation-a commitment regrettably not shared by some other members in the Assembly. I will have to take detailed advice on the questions you ask. Informally-I will confirm it to you in writing-I say to you that I am, as a matter of principle, happy to make those undertakings to you in relation to that. I welcome the opportunity of taking some detailed advice from my advisers and will confirm it. Yes, I am happy to make that undertaking.


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