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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 1752..


Water Resources (Fees) Determination 2007 (No 1)—Disallowable Instrument DI2007-192 (LR, 31 July 2007).

Water Resources (Water available from areas) Determination 2007 (No 1)—Disallowable Instrument DI2007-191 (LR, 31 July 2007).

Water Resources (Water management areas) Determination 2007 (No 1)—Disallowable Instrument DI2007-193 (LR, 31 July 2007).

Open and accountable government

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received letters from Mrs Burke, Mrs Dunne, Mr Gentleman, Mr Mulcahy, Ms Porter, Mr Pratt, Mr Seselja, Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Mrs Dunne be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The failure of the ACT Government to be open and accountable to the Canberra community.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.18): The failure of the ACT government to be open and accountable to the Canberra community is an important issue. It is very important that we bring it forward at this stage of the Assembly sitting: this morning, we have had discussion on the estimates process and some conspicuous failures by members of the Assembly before estimates committees to be open and accountable to the committee and, through the committee, to the people of the ACT.

I would like to concentrate my comments mainly on my experiences as a member of this Legislative Assembly—particularly, in my role as the shadow minister for education, my experiences in attempting to draw out from the department of education documentation that relates to the department of education and the minister's Towards 2020 proposal. We have known about that since 6 June last year, and even a little before that. This was an extraordinarily contentious move on the part of the government. There were all sorts of assurances from the minister that the government would be open and accountable, that every piece of documentation would be on the table for the community to draw their own conclusions. Those commitments were made in this place by the minister for education even before he announced the policy on 6 June.

When the policy was announced on 6 June and the information started to dribble out as to how the government came to be in the situation it was in, and as to the process it went through to put together its Towards 2020 proposal, it was interesting to see the quality and the paucity of the information that was originally made available and how, through a fair amount of badgering at public meetings, some of that information was improved. For example, most of the space and classroom audits had to be redone because they were incorrect and out of date, and much of the information about the occupancy was incorrect and out of date. There were many more instances where important information was either incorrect or out of date—some of which was corrected, some of which the minister made undertakings to correct and did not correct, and some of which was never corrected and where the minister made no undertakings in that regard.


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