Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 380..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
we do not agree with a recommendation of the coroner, but they are not criticising or chastising themselves when they do not agree with another recommendation of the coroner.
The reasons to maintain the ESA within the justice portfolio are very clear. They are about ensuring that the organisation works within its budget and ensuring that the taxpayer does not have to pay for duplicated services when it comes to human resource management, taxation, HR services, IT services, ministerial support and all those issues that would just lead to another bureaucracy within the ESA.
Those opposite talk about removing bureaucracy from the ESA but if it was a stand-alone authority we would have to pay for all those services, instead of simply asking the justice department to do it for them so that they can focus on the frontline services the community expects them to deliver. The position of those opposite is completely hypocritical and ill-informed. Mr Pratt is the worst of the lot. I have never met a man more ill-informed and more hypocritical on these matters than Mr Pratt.
The difference that needs to be alluded to when this debate occurs is that, firstly, as I said in my answer to an earlier question, the operational independence of our officers is guaranteed, and guaranteed in legislation. It does not matter what the administrative arrangement is. Their operational independence is enshrined in law.
Opposition members interjecting—
MR CORBELL: It is enshrined in law, Mr Stefaniak, and that is not going to change. It is enshrined in law, Mr Pratt, and it is not going to change.
The other thing that needs to be drawn to members' attention in this regard is again the argument that, because it is in the justice portfolio, it is buried in the bureaucracy and all of those people within the ESA are unable to get to the minister and raise issues with him. That has also been disputed and it has been proven to be patently false. As I said in my earlier answer, the issue is: are they able to meet with me and raise their concerns with me? The answer is yes.
Over the last six months, on 15 separate occasions I have met with the commissioner of the ESA to discuss matters concerning the ESA's budget, its organisational structure, the arrangement of resources to meet the needs of the different services and a range of personnel and strategic policy matters. Those are the facts of the matter. To suggest that they are not able to meet with me and not able to raise these matters with me is simply false.
Those opposite need to come up with a better argument. The reasons that they claim the ESA needs to be a separate statutory authority are not supported by the facts. It is time they got themselves a better argument or dropped the idea altogether.
Public service—workers compensation
MS MacDONALD: My question is to Mr Stanhope in his capacity as Chief Minister and Treasurer and it relates to workers compensation and changes to the Comcare legislation. Would the Treasurer advise the Assembly of the likely impact on public