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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 10 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 2999..

Question resolved in the affirmative, members standing in their places.

Death of Mr Jim O'Neill OAM

Motion of condolence

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its deep regret at the death of Mr Jim O'Neill OAM, first Auditor-General of the ACT, an outstanding public servant who has made an abiding impact on our community, and tenders its profound sympathy to his family, friends and former colleagues in their bereavement.

It is with sadness and regret that I rise to record my memories of Jim O'Neill and to convey to his family and colleagues the condolences of the government. Jim O'Neill's contribution to this community was a proud and sustained one, encompassing public service as we more narrowly understand it and public service in the grander sense: service to the community of which he was a part. His formal public service came at a time of great change and challenge for the ACT: the advent of self-government. He was appointed the ACT's first auditor-general in 1990, after a distinguished career in the commonwealth public service, including a period as first assistant auditor-general with the Australian National Audit Office.

Having nailed his colours to the mast of the fledgling territory administration, Jim administered what was then known as the Government Audit Office and his steady professionalism and wise counsel did much to lend credibility to the new structures and processes. Jim's expertise and dedication were crucial in the establishment of the Government Audit Office. Within 12 months of his appointment he had created a fully functioning and highly productive organisation. In that first year he oversaw the administrative and management arrangements for the conduct of audits, developed audit standards for the ACT and issued six reports to the Assembly. His advice on difficult issues of prudent management and public sector ethics was sought and freely given long after his retirement. He was highly valued for his genuine voice of impartiality.

ACT governments of both political persuasions appointed Jim to senior roles in government tribunals after his formal retirement as Auditor-General. He was a member of the ACT agents board before being appointed to the Consumer and Trader Tribunal in 2002. During this time he presided over a number of hearings of the tribunal and earned respect for his learning and decisiveness.

But, if his public service career was exemplary, his contribution to his community in his private life, particularly in retirement, was extraordinary. Performing in an honorary capacity, Jim lent his considerable expertise as financial adviser and auditor to a vast and diverse range of community organisations. The Carmelite Sisters of Red Hill, St Patrick's church in Braddon, Ozanam home for the aged and St Thomas More's parish in Campbell were all beneficiaries of his honorary financial

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