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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2120 ..


3.9 This was a significant decision of the board, because it enabled Mr Sullivan to proceed with implementation of the Murrumbidgee to Googong pipeline, including approving expenditure on the project up to the total project budget of $149.8m.

3.10 Five days later, on 18 May 2009, knowing that his board had made these decisions, Mr Sullivan appeared before the Estimates Committee.

3.11 He told the Estimates Committee:

The Murrumbidgee to Googong pipeline is currently under consideration by the board. While we have got a draft TOC, it has got some process to go through before it is an agreed TOC.

This statement clearly is at odds with the facts that led to the Actew Corporation board’s decision of 13 May 2010. My comments further state:

3.17 At no point after 18 May 2009 did Mr Sullivan seek to correct the record in relation to his statements on the total project budget of the Murrumbidgee-to-Googong pipeline, including the TOC component of that budget. He merely acknowledged that “it would probably have been more prudent to have used less direct language”.

I think the situation is an important one and it is important that we, as an Assembly, do draw a line in the sand and set a clear precedent that it is not good enough to turn up to an estimates committee and not give all the information that people do have at their disposal. I think if we are to do this job properly, if we are to be custodians of public finances and about public decision making, we do need to make sure that all the information we have is accurate, timely and contemporary. The additional comments that I provided do point to that principle and I look forward to hearing from Mrs Dunne, who will further expand on this issue.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.51): I want to thank members of the Select Committee on Privileges for the work that they have done on this matter and I would particularly like to thank Mr Coe for his contribution. I think that being involved in the privileges process is a difficult matter, no matter what side of the table one sits on.

I can speak from the experience of being a member of a privileges committee and the subject of a privileges inquiry. It is not easy and it is not a matter that is taken up lightly. And that was clearly the case when this Assembly debated whether or not this matter should be referred to a committee for inquiry. We do realise that we had a privileges inquiry because we were able to establish that there was a prima facie case to be looked at.

This privileges inquiry, from my point of view, is not about any process of wreaking vengeance, as it has been characterised in the media and elsewhere. It is about ensuring a high level of accountability in this place and in the committees of this place, something that I hold particularly dear.

I think it is worth noting the additional comments made by Mr Coe. And the additional comments made by Mr Coe were essentially reinforced by the comments


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