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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3606..

MS LE COUTEUR (continuing):

Report No 5 of 2009, entitled Administration of employment issues for staff of members of the Legislative Assembly, either in the Assembly or the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

The motion was passed and the inquiry was held. The committee concluded that the employment and administration of the entitlements of the staff employed by MLAs have three overarching components. Firstly, it requires an appropriate and legislative framework which governs the employment conditions and, consequently, staff entitlements. Secondly, there need to be appropriate guidance documents, information, advice and support to assist with the interpretation and application of the framework. Thirdly, there need to be formally structured processes and assistance to ensure compliance with this framework.

In noting this, we found that there were no issues with the legislative conditions and legislative framework. That was felt to be quite appropriate. The issues arose in relation to the second and third points, bearing in mind that it is a particularly difficult issue because MLAs are, in effect, employers. That is not necessarily what MLAs expected to be when they became MLAs. The audit found that there was some degree of confusion between the different parties and their different roles. The inquiry found that both the secretariat and the government, in terms of the executive MLAs, had looked at the recommendations of the Auditor-General's report and there had been a considerable increase in clarity and effectiveness.

If you look at appendix B of our report, you will find that all the audit recommendations have been looked at. As far as the secretariat is concerned, they have all been either implemented or finalised, which is very good. As far as the government's response is concerned, there has been some disagreement in terms of whether or not all employment administration should be centralised or the HR part should be centralised into one unit.

The government felt that, due to the political nature of the ACT Legislative Assembly, it would not be appropriate to consolidate employment issues for both government and non-government or executive and non-executive MLAs. That is, in fact, the practice of most Australian parliaments. All in all, this seems a very reasonable outcome.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the contributions of my fellow PAC committee members—Mr Smyth, for a period Ms Burch, and now Mr Hargreaves. I very much thank the secretary, Andrea Cullen, and Lydia Chung for her administration. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Statement by chair

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo): Pursuant to standing order 246A, I wish to make a statement on behalf of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. This is about the review of Auditor-General's performance audit report No 6 of 2009: government office accommodation.

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