Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3146 ..
this, as we have learnt from Queanbeyan City Council and the effectiveness of their domestic water reduction programs.
It is true that DECCEW is a new department brought together from a number of areas with disparate activities, but we are now 18 months or thereabouts into its operation and I think that we should be seeing a better and more responsive department than we have. That has been highlighted today by Mr Seselja when he pointed to either the incapacity or the unwillingness of the minister to reveal the programs that underpin the output classes.
Again, DECCEW was one of those agencies that refused to do this. DECCEW did not or would not answer questions about how they proposed to spend their money on travel and consultancies and things like this. They said that they could not answer the questions because they had not done the budgeting. Well, today is the beginning of the financial year and I think it might be time that the minister started to answer those questions.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.52): I think I can speak without closing the debate, and there is not really any closure of debate. I would like to speak now because, regrettably, I am on a pair from 7.30 this evening and I have some duties as minister for police. So I am going to address a number of issues now, although I am cognisant that the debate will continue in my absence.
First of all, I simply say that the silly and juvenile criticisms from the Liberal Party when it comes to budgeting are just that. Do they seriously believe that the budget is going to rise and fall on the internal allocation within departments of appropriations that this Assembly will approve? The Liberals know that the budget is determined on an output basis and that payments are made on that basis. They also know that it is not standard practice for every single element of internal budgets to be finalised in the period of time that we have been working through this estimates committee process. It is a silly, juvenile, nit-picking approach to this debate and it does them no credit.
In relation to the work of the department overall, I am very pleased with the funding that has been provided to the department. As Mr Rattenbury has observed, there is a large amount of policy work proceeding. A large amount of that is very well advanced and I am pleased with the very dedicated work of the officers of my department in bringing a very broad range of very complex policy matters to a timely conclusion. I look forward to making announcements in relation to a range of those policy matters in due course, and certainly this year.
It is interesting to observe that the Liberal Party’s criticism does not really focus on the issue of climate change or greenhouse gas reduction targets, which, of course, is a crucial issue for the city. I note Mr Rattenbury’s comments about the Liberal Party having a bill on the table for a 30 per cent reduction by 2020 based on 1990 levels. The interesting thing will be whether Mr Seselja sticks by that target, because he is on the record, in a soft, sort of weak, weaselly kind of way, as trying to dissent from the report of the committee on climate change and its report on greenhouse gas reduction targets, saying he is concerned about taking what he characterises as too extreme a position.