Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . .
in acknowledging them, and the minister was open in acknowledging them. But she got it fixed. She went down there and she spoke to shopkeepers. She sat in the traffic with everyone else and understood on the ground what was going on. And she fixed it. It was one of the best examples of a proactive response from a minister that I have seen for some time.
Let us have some background as to why this occurred. The minister has laid it out very clearly. There were two choices: one was to have a staggered closure of parts of Tharwa Drive for a period of maybe five, six or seven weeks; the alternative was to build the trench in one hit, lay the essential services in one hit and get the trench filled in and the road replaced in a period of around a couple of weeks. It took less than two weeks to get this work done, and it was scheduled at the quietest time of the year.
That is not to say that we knew there would not be a disruption, because we knew there would be. But that is why it was scheduled at that time of the year. The minister is not a road engineer. The minister is not someone who is directly responsible, day to day, for how a pipe is laid. The minister takes advice and relies on the advice of those who are expert. That is what the minister did. Unless it is the expectation of this place that a minister has to be a road engineer, a hydraulic engineer, someone expert in the laying of infrastructure, someone who knows how to operate a bobcat and someone who knows how to wield a pipe—unless that is the expectation here, there has to be some recounting of what is reasonable in terms of ministerial responsibility.
This minister lived up to her responsibilities. She acted on advice; she accepted the advice; and when that advice demonstrated deficiency, she responded and made sure that those who were expert found a solution to the problem. That is a minister doing their job. Those opposite may have some bizarre notion of what ministerial responsibility actually means, but they fail the first test of understanding the complexities of governance and what ministerial responsibility actually means. She was the public face. She took responsibility and she fixed it.
This minister does not deserve the censure and the calls for dismissal that those opposite seek to make today. They fail to understand what ministers do, how they act and what they must do when problems are identified. Minister Burch has passed those tests, and this government will not support this motion today.
MRS JONES (Molonglo) (4.53): I rise today to add my support to this motion of no confidence in Minister Burch. Minister Burch has sometimes shown that it should not be expected of her to manage the load that she has been given. Following appropriate process has at times been too much in her portfolio responsibilities.
There are a few areas where the minister has let the local community down in my areas of experience, starting with the Women's Information and Referral Centre. In December 2013, Minister Burch okayed the closure of the Women's Information and Referral Centre, a service that has been of great benefit to the women of Canberra for several decades. This facility was shut without consultation, without planning and without a real explanation. There was not a plan at the time to adequately serve these women. The doors were shut, the phones were transferred and vulnerable women were left without the same level of access to help. There was not due process. Now
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