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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 March 2005 2005) . . Page.. 835 ..


The reason I was there was that I was on a tour conducted by the Kosciusko Huts Association. This is yet another of those amazing volunteer groups that are connected by a passion, in this case to maintain the heritage huts of the high country. We did an eight-to 10-kilometre walk—they say it was eight; I say it was 20—of three huts, which were the Clearwater hut, the Westermans hut and Brayshaws hut. They are actually marked on that interpretation map and it is a walk that I would be very happy to take anyone on because I would happily do that walk again.

The Kosciusko Huts Association is a broad association of people from all over Australia, with voluntary labour. They do get some money from grants for materials, but they spend their weekends working on their passion and they are very healthy people.

I want to note, in conclusion, that these people also work in the Kosciusko National Park, which, of course, is contiguous with Namadji National Park—a reminder that the border is only a political one and that when people want to they can work with land managers on both sides of it. We need to remember, too, that water flows into the ACT from New South Wales and out again into it. We are a catchment for all on the Murrumbidgee, and Namadji plays its part in maintaining the water quality and quantity for everyone downstream.

Public servants

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (6.14): I would like to enter the adjournment debate this afternoon with a couple of quotes from the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister yesterday in question time said, in talking about ACT public servants:

We will show them due respect. We will stand by them and we will support them.

These are the Chief Minister’s words about ACT public servants: “We will show them due respect. We will stand by them and we will support them.” What I want to do is compare that to what the Chief Minister said about public servants, and in particular senior public servants, today in question time. What he said was that he is going to amend the Public Sector Management Act as it is too inflexible and basically it does not allow him to sack senior public servants—i.e., in this case, Mr Tonkin. Let me read what he said:

I do propose some amendments to the Public Sector Management Act to deal with the existing incredibly inflexible executive appointment arrangements that currently apply under the Public Sector Management Act. They are inflexible to the point of being essentially incapable of allowing any reasonable management of the senior executive.

I think, folks, that that all reads as code for: I can’t sack them when I don’t like them. So, senior public servants, you should be warned, you should be afraid; you should be very afraid of what the Chief Minister intends to do.

It is interesting, because on the one hand in talking particularly about Mr Tonkin the Chief Minister praised him. In question time today he said:

Mr Tonkin is a very senior, very experienced and extremely good public servant ...


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