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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2193..


MR PRATT (continuing):

We have talked about the trunk radio network, we have talked about the project FireLink and a number of communications projects, but there are questions about the very late introduction of services, and questions of performance. These are issues the committee did not report adequately on. There are also concerns about conflicts of interest that needed to be uncovered and have not been.

Education: why the drift from government to non-government schools? I was pleased to see the committee making observations about that and some recommendations, but this is a critical concern. Why has the committee not made stronger recommendations to get to the heart of this concern?

Mr Smyth has also talked about the bullying and violence issue. That was a time critical issue that needed to be addressed. This is a horror budget and we think the committee report could have been stronger, but I commend the dissenting report to the government and the house.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.53): I will not keep you too long. We are nearly at the adjournment debate. I want to talk a little bit about the report that has been tabled today, as well as the dissenting report and additional comments by Dr Foskey, Mr Pratt and me.

Firstly, I think I should correct both Dr Foskey and Mr Pratt. The government did not have a majority on the committee. The committee was not stacked. There were three Labor members, two opposition members and one crossbench member. That is three against three.

The final vote, that was talked about earlier on in this discussion, went three against three-hardly a majority in that case. I think that shows the good accounting that this opposition has. Three against three is hardly a majority. These estimates hearings were held over a record number of days with a record number of questions put and a record number of questions on notice taken and answered.

There were over 330 questions taken on notice and answered during the course of the estimates committee hearings-I understand near double that of last year. All these questions on notice were required to be answered within five working days, a huge workload for all officers, including those from the committee office.

I would like to congratulate all those who put in so much hard work. The report as a whole has some areas that I feel could have been enhanced. But it was a long process and I guess there are times when we all get a little emotional. I know I did. I move on to some of the content of the report, or lack of content, and some of the failings in the report. The report fails to address statements made by the Treasurer in relation to the necessity for fiscal responsibility.

It also fails to recognise the lack of control exercised by previous governments and how this has brought us to this fiscal necessity. We have seen this again today with Messrs Pratt and Smyth making some 90 recommendations for expenditure in their report, with no explanation as to where the money is going to come from. It has not been recognised that the Stanhope government has worked towards the best future for the ACT


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