Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 June 2010) . . Page.. 2689 ..
Second, I raised through my office the question of the approach that is adopted in other jurisdictions, and again I understand that, apart from the Western Australian Water Corporation, remuneration details are not required for a TOC operating in other states or territories. I have no idea why the WA water board is an exception. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that the ACT is leading other jurisdictions in requiring appropriate transparency and accountability by entities that are owned by the taxpayers and I welcome the Treasurer’s action on this.
The opposition looks forward to the provision of remuneration details in the annual reports for 2009-10 and the opposition will be supporting this bill.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (11.53): Standing orders 172 and 192 talk about suspension of standing orders or declaration of an urgent bill to allow for debate in the same sitting period. It is something I wanted to touch upon, because it is a bit of an issue in the parliamentary agreement. We do talk about not tabling and debating bills in the same sitting. Standing orders 172 and 192 provide that this can only be done in the same sitting period if the bill is declared an urgent bill.
The Greens are ordinarily very reluctant to debate a bill in the same sitting as it is introduced, for obvious reasons. Ordinarily, prior to changing a law of, or creating a new law for, the territory it is prudent to allow more time for reflection and consideration, to ensure the best outcomes. In this case, there is a particular time imperative, and we must pass this bill if we wish to have the information included in this year’s annual reports.
Given the nature and relative simplicity of this particular bill, the notice we were given by the government that this was coming and the fact that the particular policy outcome reflects two separate committee recommendations that we have long supported, in this case we agree that we have had sufficient time to evaluate this bill and it should be debated in this sitting.
As I said, the Greens will be supporting this bill. Executive remuneration and its disclosure has been debated domestically and internationally for some time now, particularly throughout the 1990s, and the particulars of today’s debate have been raised as an issue for the government and the Assembly for some time now. The Greens have asked for this information, and we agree with the reasons and arguments already outlined by the minister. The most important, of course, is that disclosure is in the public interest.
As I said, this matter has been an issue for members of the Assembly for some time and, particularly in the last 18 months or so, there have been recommendations from two separate Assembly committees recommending the disclosure of executive remuneration by territory-owned corporations. I have asked a follow-up question in the Assembly about the action that was being taken by the government to address the issue.
In answering that question, the minister indicated that she did think there was merit in the idea and undertook to undertake further work on the matter. Again this year, on