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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 August 1995) . . Page.. 1244 ..


The first priority category consists of those legislative initiatives which have been afforded the highest priority for drafting by the Government or alternatively will be ready in the near future. It is intended that as many as possible of these initiatives will be introduced into the Assembly before the end of the spring sittings. Members should note that, in order to accommodate emerging issues, legislative proposals may also be added to the program through the course of this sitting period. Similarly, the priority of those initiatives presently listed on the program may be subject to change, and some second priority proposals may also be introduced into the Assembly during this sitting period.

Mr Speaker, as I have stated before, this Government intends to be remembered not by the amount of legislation that it has introduced but for the unnecessary legislation that we intend to remove, and that process is well under way. Against this background, the Government is committed to an achievable and focused legislative program. Members will be aware that, apart from providing information to the Assembly about forthcoming proposals, the legislation program also assists the Parliamentary Counsel's Office to organise its resources. This is a difficult exercise, and I am conscious of the competing priorities on drafting resources with the drafting of Bills for non-Executive members. The program assists in the provision of an effective and efficient drafting service.

Mr Speaker, I feel it is useful to identify some key reforms planned for the remainder of the year. The Government will bring forward important initiatives such as the national competition policy, the corporatisation of ACTTAB and the Community Initiated Referendums Bill. The National Competition Policy Bill 1995, which hopefully will be introduced this week, is a significant step towards the implementation of the national competition policy agreements entered into at the April 1995 Council of Australian Governments Meeting. Consistent with this policy will be the legislation to achieve the corporatisation of ACTTAB by 1 January 1996 to ensure that it remains efficient and competitive with similar entities in other States. As I have stated before, corporatisation will not be the first step to privatisation, and we have certainly had ongoing discussions with the staff to reassure them of that.

There will also be reforms for the ACT Government Service. The Government will be seeking to amend the Public Sector Management Act to ensure that the focus of the ACT public service is directed at more efficient and effective service delivery. These amendments will include moving all SES officers onto contracts and renaming the ACT Government Service as a public service. Central to this Government is our commitment to education, and we are excited about the opportunities that will flow from having the University of Canberra move to ACT jurisdiction. The benefits will include better access to initiatives under way at the university, such as the establishment of the innovation centre.

In line with our commitment to create a more open and accountable government, we will move on our pledge to introduce community referendums. This is but one element of our plan to create a more open, modest local government which will be more accessible to the community and more city council in nature. Mr Speaker, you will remember that we first introduced the Community Referendum Bill in August 1994. The Bill was an attempt to adopt a voter-initiated referendum system. We believe that community referendums will give Canberrans direct input into government decisions and allow every resident to have


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