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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2194..


MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):

community in this report. A failure to respond at this time would only leave an incredible burden for future governments, ACT residents and their children.

As a member of this important committee I felt it my duty to add additional comments to the report reflecting my views on the hearings, the ministers' responses and parts of the report that I agree and disagree with. The first two recommendations I found almost laughable.

For the opposition to talk about time-wasting and avoidance tactics, just look at this morning's debacle. There must be a stage where long-term memory loss kicks in. If the opposition were serious about reflecting what has occurred during estimates hearings from the last time they were in government, they would see how facetious they were.

This is just the beginning of many issues raised in the report. Possibly the most far-reaching inaccurate recommendation is where there have been calls for ministers to clarify discrepancies between staff numbers quoted during hearings and in response to questions taken on notice.

The answers given to the committee during the hearings and provided as answers to questions taken on notice have been correct. Members of the opposition have tried to misrepresent the truth by attempting to now put questions that were not put in the hearings into the final report.

Further to this comment, I would like to advise the Assembly that, as a government committee member, I am confident that the facts presented by ministers and officials are accurate and an honest appraisal of the information at hand.

There were several references in relation to shared services proposed in the budget. The committee heard evidence that the incorporation of certain areas of government as a whole was a huge cost saving, and there is yet to be evidence to the contrary. I therefore do not support recommendations with regard to the dissolution of some of the shared services being undertaken over this financial year.

If during hearings there was evidence to support the financial gain of reversing the decision made to include boards, committees and programs into departments, then I would be more than happy to support recommendations stating this. But as I have stated in my additional comments, there was no evidence given during hearings or recommendations by the committee.

Yet another area where Mr Smyth and his colleagues have tried to lead the committee into areas they felt they needed to go and raise issues they wanted to raise was during questions about the Lower Cotter catchment. You will see that there have been recommendations in the major report with regard to the Googong Dam and fire management but in the transcript I could not find, and could not remember, any questions asked with regard to this.

I raised questions with regard to the Lower Cotter catchment, and in the answers given there was reference to Googong Dam, but there were no questions raised in relation to the management of Googong Dam. The recommendation in reference to Googong Dam is one I cannot support.


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