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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3885..


Strategic and functional review of the ACT public sector and services

Paper

Debate resumed from 7 August 2008, on motion by DR FOSKEY:

That this Assembly calls on the Chief Minister to table the Strategic and Functional Review of the ACT Public Sector and Services in the Assembly before the end of this sitting day.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (11.09): The functional review impacted on all aspects of the territory and was espoused as having within it the evidence that supported the slash and burn budget of 2006. Where is the accountability and transparency of this government that should have allowed us as a parliament to understand the grounds for such an earth shattering change to our community?

In the four-odd minutes I have left, I want to mention a couple of examples. One of the areas really hit badly as a consequence of the mythology surrounding the functional review was the Emergency Services Authority. The ex-commissioner of the Emergency Services Authority, Mr Peter Dunn, gave evidence to the legal affairs committee inquiry into the management of ACT fire and emergency services. He was actually quite critical of the decisions taken around the removal of the ESA as an independent authority—the conversion of that entity into an agency and then the shoving of it beneath the wing of JACS.

He was super critical about that. He said it was a disastrous decision. It was a disastrous decision, Mr Speaker. It is one of the worst examples coming out of this government restructure. On 20 June this year, at the legal affairs committee inquiry, Mr Dunn said:

I wrote formally to Mr Costello—

Mr Costello, of course, was steering the review—

to advise that that report specifically excludes comparison with the Emergency Services. Were you to use that report, you would get a terribly skewed result.

In other words, Peter Dunn was saying that the functional review was a slash and burn bureaucratic exercise and that to take that template and put it on top of an emergency organisation was unfair, unprofessional and would provide a skewed result. The Emergency Services Authority, as a real-time emergency agency, should have been looked at in a far different light, rather than through the prism of the functional review. Mr Dunn was highly critical there.

The committee also heard evidence from the likes of Michael Ross, an ex-chief officer; Mr Prince, an ex-chief officer; the five captains in the captains group that came and gave evidence; Mr Val Jeffery; and a range of other very experienced people. It was their view that the functional review recommendation that caused the


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