Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2061..
MRS BURKE (continuing):
resolved to take evidence from representatives from each of the agencies mentioned by the chair and the relevant ministers.
On 20 and 21 April 2005 the committee held public hearings with the ministers. I reiterate for the public record that the government and any future governments should note that the timing of all annual report hearings during an election year need to be carefully considered in order to ensure the relevance and usefulness of such hearings. I felt, as I am sure did other members and the people who appeared before the committee, that it was really a waste of time, given that we would be involved with estimates hearings and soon after that we would be considering the 2004-05 annual reports. So, to some extent it was a bit of a shut the door after the horse has bolted type exercise. The lateness of this year's hearings and the subsequent relevance of the evidence presented gave me cause for concern, and I am pleased to see that the other committee members were concerned about that. I believe that because of this lateness the value of the hearings and the evidence presented in relation to the 2003-04 annual reports was diminished.
Whilst there may have been, as the chair of the committee said, unusual circumstances, I note that other ministers made themselves available. I was quite disappointed with what happened because the Minister for Disability, Housing, and Community Services would have known that these hearings were coming up. Given the importance of the annual reports inquiry process, the committee would appreciate—and this is set out at 1.16 of the report—all ministers ensuring their availability to appear at the hearings in a timely manner.
The chair mentioned the word "conspiracy". I cannot and will not comment on that. Those were her words and I am not suggesting that for one moment. I am just suggesting that we need to be more on the ball and we need to be accountable to the ACT public, to the ACT taxpayer. I think doing this in a dilatory way sends a bad message out to the community.
I will not say any more than that. I appreciate the contribution made by people who presented themselves to the hearings. I thank the minister for his eventual appearance. I certainly thank the committee secretariat and Trish Carling particularly. Farewell and all the best Trish, and thank you for everything that you have done so far. And thank you members.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Legal Affairs—Standing Committee
Scrutiny report 11
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra): I present the following report:
Legal Affairs—Standing Committee (performing the duties of a Scrutiny of Bills and Subordinate Legislation Committee)—Scrutiny Report 11, dated 20 June 2005, together with the relevant minutes of proceedings
I seek to leave to make a brief statement.