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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 June 2010) . . Page.. 2797 ..

I have recently written to Mr Barac advising that a licence, inclusive of clean fill, for a 10 year period will be offered to him.

This was on 18 June. They were about to proceed unilaterally, but suddenly the minister is writing to him on 18 June. He goes on to say:

I have requested that Mr Barac provide a response to this offer in writing by 30 June 2010.

So there is confusion here and it really is symptomatic of how badly this government treats business and how this Chief Minister treats his Territory and Municipal Services portfolio. This matter needs to be handled expeditiously. Mr Barac has been given until 30 June. I understand the operator will come back to the government and I trust that there will be a speedy and satisfactory conclusion to this imbroglio. It certainly has been a particularly poor mess that we have been landed with.

Mr Speaker, there are other areas in TAMS that do require attention. You certainly raised some of them. The Chief Minister does make some interesting points about the size of the area that we have to look after. We are all well aware of that, Chief Minister. It is a big area. But it has always been a big area. Before self-government, since self-government, whether it has been a Labor or a Liberal government, that area has been the area that we have had to look after. But it is really about getting your priorities right. There is a real question, Chief Minister, as to whether or not you do have your priorities right.

To take $11 million out of street trees is unfortunate. There is an answer; that is, to move some of the money from Treasury. You should read the dissenting report and you might be able to take that up.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (8.41): I would like to start by acknowledging that the TAMS budget is one of the biggest areas of spending. To use the Chief Minister’s words, which he has pretty much repeated this evening:

It behoves all members of this place … to understand just how massive in a proportionate sense is the task which we have here in the ACT.

The Chief Minister, as the minister for TAMS, did go through some of that earlier. It is impossible for TAMS to manage everything in the ACT—its nature reserves, its urban landscape et cetera to the level that everybody would like, and certainly to the level that this Assembly would like. I am sure that the staff members of TAMS have a challenging job, often dealing with an unhappy public and having to manage with a limited budget and limited staff. So it is critical that the government allocates its limited funding wisely and that these limited funds are managed well and used strategically to achieve the best delivery of services.

I am pleased to note that 15 recommendations from the 2008 strategic budget review of TAMS have now been implemented by the department. It will be a challenge for the government and other parties to establish exactly how TAMS and its service delivery have been affected by the strategic budget review and by the 2010 staffing freeze.

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