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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3830..

MR BARR (continuing):

a smaller council, members will have increased governance responsibilities, including attending the regular council and subcommittee meetings.

Payment of external members signals to the university and the broader community that the council is a professional organisation that has performance expectations of these members. This increased expectation of expertise and responsibility will ensure the effectiveness of the new council.

The Government Solicitor has confirmed that the proposed changes to the University of Canberra council will not alter the legal status of the university, which will continue to be a body corporate established under an enactment. The university's obligations under the Financial Management Act 1996 and the commonwealth Corporations Act 2001 or any accounting standards will not be affected by the proposed changes.

The University of Canberra council secretariat and the council's legislative committee have had input in preparing this bill, including providing instructions on minor technical amendments regarding circulation of resolutions and updating references to the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

With the passage of these amendments, the University of Canberra will be compliant with national governance protocols and will be genuinely moving towards significantly improving their governance structures. After all, good governance invariably improves strategic management.

I believe that a council of 15 is the ideal size for such a body. It is large enough to benefit from a diversity of viewpoints and small enough to facilitate effective decision making. As members can see, the amendments make a significant improvement to the governance and administrative operations of the act. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne) adjourned to the next sitting.

Griffith library

Proposed reference to standing committee

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (10.58): I move:

That, given the failure of the government to consult appropriately with the Canberra community over the announced closure of the Griffith library:

(1) the closure of the Griffith library be deferred until appropriate consultation has taken place;

(2) the proposal to close Griffith library be referred to the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment for inquiry and report by 31 March 2007; and

(3) the Government wait for the report by the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment and respond to the Assembly before any decision is made.

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