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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1503 ..

Public Accounts—Standing Committee

Report 7

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (11.42): I present the following report:

Public Accounts—Standing Committee—Report 7—Report on Annual and Financial Reports 2008-2009, dated 22 March 2010, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

The first thing that I want to do in speaking to this report is to thank the secretariat—Mr Glenn Ryall and his able assistants, Ms Sam Henriksen and Ms Lydia Chung—for the formatting and, of course, my fellow committee members for all their contributions to this report.

I will briefly go through some of the highlights of the report. The first recommendation is that the government provide responses to the 60 outstanding questions without delay. Most of these, I would note, relate to the sitting on 18 February when we heard about Actew, which in fact led to the privileges committee. It is very hard for a committee to do its work properly in terms of holding the government to account and scrutinising it if the government does not provide answers to questions without notice. This is something which I intend to bring up at the next meeting of committee chairs. We need answers to questions and it is particularly frustrating. It was only last week that I stood up here in my role as PAC chair and made a 246A statement because at that point in time PAC was missing government responses to a number of reports. If the committee system is to work and do its job, the government needs to make responses in a timely fashion. This is something, certainly from PAC’s point of view, that is not happening at a rate that is satisfactory.

The next area of concern relates to the annual reports of territory-owned corporations and, in particular, Actew. We thought the best way forward was for the government to make it a requirement for territory-owned corporations to comply with the Chief Minister’s annual report directions. This would make them consistent with other reports and would make it easier for everyone who has to read them.

The next area which we spent quite a lot of time on—and I am very pleased to say it is an area on which all three of us were in agreement—was ESD, and that is good. Ten years ago you probably would not have had such unanimity among Green, Liberal and Labor. There are quite a number of recommendations about ESD reporting. There are even some recommendations about ESD practices. None of those were controversial amongst the committee. These are things which have become, it seems, universally agreed that we should do. What PAC is asking for is not just agreement that they should be done but for the government to actually do them.

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