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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 February 2010) . . Page.. 14 ..


The ACT is still a small jurisdiction. There are, I believe, 18,000 public servants. We are small enough that it is possible for the government to work as a whole, instead of having the silos that we saw during this process. Literally, one department did not know what the other department was doing.

I commend this report to the Assembly. I hope that it will go some small way towards addressing some of the pain that people, particularly in Tuggeranong, felt during the process and in some small way make a contribution to ensuring that the people of the ACT do not go through a process like this in the future.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella) (10.44): I draw members’ attention to the first page of the committee’s report. It talks about the membership of the committee. I was and indeed am a member of the PAC. I did not take part in this inquiry or in the deliberations or construct of the report. The report, however, does not say why that is so. For the purposes of the record I would like to indicate to members that I was a member of cabinet at the time of the original decision. I received a briefing as a cabinet member from ActewAGL on a number of occasions. It was totally inappropriate for me to take part in an examination of that particular process. Therefore, I withdrew from that exercise.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.45): I acknowledge Mr Hargreaves’s statement. I guess the temptation, as an incoming member, to put your oar in the water must have been strong, but I think it is to Mr Hargreaves’s credit that he took the position that he did.

The chair of the public accounts committee said there were two themes throughout the report—consultation and strategic planning. I would add a third, and that is simply process and accountability. Certainly, there were concerns from the community right from the start about accountability. Indeed, recommendation 5 dealt with that. ActewAGL seemed to be included in a lot of government emails as a matter of course, whereas community members were not. Recommendation 5 states:

The committee recommends that the government develop guidelines outlining clear processes for all dealings and communications with territory-owned businesses and their commercial partners such as ActewAGL. The issue of who it is appropriate to copy into emails should be addressed in the guidelines.

There was enormous concern in the community that in some instances ActewAGL seemed to be part of the government deliberation process. That, of course, would be inappropriate. Therefore, I think a third theme clearly emerges about processes and accountability. The recommendations were outlined by the chair. Recommendation 1 is very basic:

The Committee recommends that, in the case of strategic projects, a complete business case be prepared before the project is formally submitted to the ACT Government.

That is at the nub of all that I believe went wrong with this process. We have already had the revelation that the real reason ActewAGL were involved was the commercial killing that the chairman spoke about. But the problem is that the project was never


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