Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 8 June 2022) . . Page.. 1802 ..
system-wide capabilities of situational awareness” in this instance, and that “early weak-signal detection and noise sorting” is non-existent.
I think that we need some far-reaching, system-wide change management right here, and right now, in this chamber. This motion clearly indicates where that change management should commence—it should commence with this minister.
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (11.12): I will try very hard, unlike some of the speakers we have heard this morning, to stick to the matter at hand, which is about a CIT procurement issue. It is not about whether a minister is working very hard or is very busy, or about other portfolio responsibilities. As we have debated here in other contexts, Australia’s Constitution does not give the territory government the same full legislative independence provided to the states. Nevertheless, the ACT is governed according to, as Mr Hanson alluded to, the principles of the Westminster system, and the doctrine of individual ministerial responsibility is central to the Westminster parliamentary system—individual ministerial responsibility.
In general terms, the doctrine states that ministers are individually responsible to the parliament for actions taken under their authority. This is not a vibe; it is a constitutional convention in government that a cabinet minister bears the ultimate responsibility for the actions of their ministry or department. We on this side, we the public, we the taxpayers of the ACT, expect accountability, we expect transparency and we expect value for money in the expenditure of public funds. We expect diligence in the oversight of the spending of those public funds.
We have seen many examples of ministers, even premiers, stepping down temporarily while an investigation takes place because they are individually responsible for the actions of their department. For example, Gladys Berejiklian stepped down when ICAC announced an investigation. Vickie Chapman in South Australia stepped down pending the outcome of an ombudsman investigation. There are many examples; but, apparently, in the ACT that does not apply. Apparently, the principles of the Westminster parliamentary system are not really applicable here in the ACT.
We know that the CIT is the ACT government-operated vocational education provider. I have taken a very quick look at some of the CIT annual reports. I have looked at them over the last five years, because that is the period of time we are talking about when these interesting procurement contracts have been awarded. It is a bit difficult to make a one-for-one comparison because, of course, the accountability indicators change frequently, to make it hard to compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges.
I can tell you that, compared to five years ago—and when we have had five years of mentoring of the CEO of the CIT and executive staff—a number of the accountability indicators between 2018 and 2001 have declined. “Nominal hours” has gone down, “program completions” has gone down, “learner satisfaction” has gone down and “employer satisfaction” has gone down. What exactly are the outcomes from this $8.87 million—let’s face it, nearly $9 million—of taxpayer funds for the CIT, for its staff, for its students and for the greater ACT population? What are the outcomes we have received for these interesting, nearly $9 million procurements that we have seen?