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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 1836..


VISITORS

MR SPEAKER: I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of visitors from the Migrant Resource Centre. Welcome.

PUBLIC SECTOR MANAGEMENT (AMENDMENT) BILL 1995

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (10.32): Mr Speaker, I present the Public Sector Management (Amendment) Bill 1995, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MRS CARNELL: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, this Bill represents a significant step in our public service reform program and is the Government's first reform to result in significant changes to the Public Sector Management Act. To date we have initiated a number of service-wide reforms, the most significant of which are the customer commitment program; a complete overhaul of financial management, including the introduction of accrual accounting and a purchaser-provider model; a new agency-based enterprise bargaining process; and a review of public sector workers compensation arrangements. The proposed new executive contract arrangements reflect the Government's view that reform must begin at the top.

There are a number of themes behind our public service reforms. These themes are customer service; reducing the cost of government to the taxpayer; improving productivity; transparency; and improved performance and accountability. This Bill is principally about the last of these themes - performance and accountability. Specifically, this Bill is about building a performance culture in the ACT public service by employing chief executives and executives under contracts based on agreed levels of performance.

The Government believes that people give their best when they know what the objectives are and are motivated to achieve them. This Bill, and the new arrangements that will put them in place, will do just that. The proposed executive contract arrangements are consistent with the arrangements now in place in all States and the Northern Territory. It is worth noting that the Commonwealth has left the way open for the introduction of contracts in the APS. It is also interesting and relevant to note that New Zealand has executive contracts and the United Kingdom Civil Service is also currently developing its own proposals for new contract arrangements. We are not exactly leading the field. I would like to be able to say that we were leading the pack on this type of reform. Instead, we are among the last in Australia to adopt it. This does not, however, detract from the importance of the reforms contained in the Bill.


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