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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1101..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

the conclusion that this report should be tabled; this report should be made public. It is all there in the Canberra Times yesterday. Professor Bartos argues that, as the public has funded the Costello review, as a general principle the public should see the report from the review.

Professor Bartos contrasted the position of federal Labor with the Stanhope government in their respective approaches to open government and criticised the Stanhope government for not having a commitment to open government and accountability. Welcome to the real world, Professor Bartos. If I had a copy of the Costello report, of course I would examine it carefully and use it to engage in constructive dialogue with the government. However, this government will not release it. In the absence of the Costello report, we will be constructive in how we approach the coming budget. But we cannot have an informed decision because the Chief Minister sits on his report.

The ACT has been before where Jon Stanhope is attempting to take us with his centralised, shared services model. This might be a bit of a surprise for some. I suspect it will come as a surprise to the Chief Minister. Some years ago in the ACT—and I am sure you would remember this, Mr Speaker; I think you and Mr Stefaniak are the only two survivors—in 1991, the then Chief Minister, Rosemary Follett, a Labor predecessor of Mr Stanhope, decided to establish what? A Corporate Services Bureau to provide such services as payroll, industrial relations, human resource management and information technology to the ACT government. What did Ms Follett say in announcing this bureau? Listen to this. She said—and I quote from page 4558 of the Hansard of 20 November 1991:

Significant savings will be achieved which will impact favourably on the ACT government's financial position.

Those words sound remarkably familiar, do they not, colleagues?

In April 1994, the Follett government established the Department of Public Administration, and the Corporate Services Bureau was incorporated into that new department along with functions from elsewhere in the ACT government. Then, in 1995, the Carnell government was forced to abolish the Corporate Services Bureau, along with the disbanding of the Department of Public Administration, because it had not worked. The resounding failure of the Corporate Services Bureau was its failure to provide tailored services that each agency required.

In general terms, the Labor Party's one-size-fits-all approach did not work in the ACT; it did not work from 1991 through to 1995 and it will not work now. What the Carnell government did in 1995 was centralise the ITC services—we did this in InTACT—as the shared service function had the capacity to deliver economies of scale to the ACT government. I observe that, in the context of Jon Stanhope's intentions, there are no savings to be gained from this already shared service.

One of the factors that undermined the potential effectiveness of the Corporate Services Bureau was the creation of many service areas in the line agencies that duplicated the services that the Corporate Services Bureau provided. You have already proven, Chief Minister, that you cannot control or do not control or monitor the numbers or the growth of the public service. Why would that change now? This proliferation of service delivery


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