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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2326..


MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister will come to the subject matter of the question. The subject matter is what cabinet did about a business case.

MR CORBELL: Indeed, and I am answering that question, I thought, quite explicitly. It may not be the answer the opposition wants but that does not mean I am not answering the question. I would have thought after three years in opposition members opposite may have worked that one out. You do not always get the answer you want but you do get an answer from this government on these issues. The very clear advice to the government at the time was that a certain amount was required for a range of communications projects, and that was provided to the authority.

This report highlights that without an appropriate level of governance, of oversight of these projects, we saw these problems occurring. The Auditor-General makes it very clear—and I want to put this ESB-ESA argument to rest—in her report, and I draw members' attention to it, that it was on the advice of the newly appointed commissioner that these decisions were taken. That is very clear. These decisions were taken on the advice of the then commissioner, and you cannot escape that reality. This report confirms and justifies the government's decisions that were taken in last year's budget.

Mrs Dunne: No it doesn't.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mrs Dunne!

MR CORBELL: Last year's budget said we need better governance of the financial and IT projects within the Emergency Services Authority. Let us do a quick compare and contrast, and we can see this for what it is.

MR SPEAKER: Order! There are too many conversations going on in the chamber. Supplementary question?

MR STEFANIAK: Minister, what responsibility do you accept for the problems that have resulted from this decision?

MR CORBELL: I accept, of course, political responsibility on these matters, and I accept the responsibility to have these matters addressed and fixed.

What did the government do and what did I do as minister to address these problems? Two key things. The first was to ensure that the ESA had appropriate governance and oversight arrangements, which meant bringing that authority back into the realm of the community safety portfolio. That single step has ensured that a culture of appropriate governance has come back into place—is put into place. The proof is in the pudding. It is in the pudding. For the first time in three years, this financial year—just past—the ESA came in on budget. It was on budget for the first time in three years. In addition, the legacy of poor management, such as the FireLink project, has been addressed. The bringing back of the ESA into the community safety portfolio—and that is what it is about: community safety—

Mr Pratt: No FireLink; $5 million wasted; low morale.


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