Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2011) . . Page.. 2689 ..
Committees on Demand facility. The committee made a recommendation, and I have to admit I have not found the government’s response to it yet, that we do look at Committees on Demand being extended to all committees. It seemed to work very effectively with the estimates committee.
I know a number of people who watched it late at night, obviously insomniacs, and staff and officers who looked at it to see actually what was said and how it was said. So it is a step forward. In terms of openness and accountability, it is allowing the public to see as much of the debate that goes on in this place as possible. I would recommend that when we work out what the costs are, if it is something that we can either get additional appropriation for for the Assembly or if we can live within the limits of the current budget, it is a good thing that people can access what their Assembly does when they want to rather than when we happen to be broadcasting as we might be doing at this stage. With that, we commend the line to the house.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (4.52): We all know about the very valuable services the Assembly Secretariat provides to us each year. The parliament simply could not function without all those who work here in this building. Perhaps the most interesting project for this year will be the development of stand-alone legislation for the Secretariat. I think it is a good initiative and that there should be a distinction between the Secretariat and the rest of the public service.
This is consistent with the Latimer House principles and we should be exploring opportunities to ensure that we further the distinction between the parliament and the executive. I very much hope that all members can contribute to the development of the bill to ensure that the Assembly Secretariat continues to deliver the same range of quality services to members. We should continue to implement the Latimer House principles and ensure that their adoption is more than simply a gesture. It is a road with no fixed end and there will be many opportunities for us to continually improve the way we do things to better reflect the ideals espoused in these principles.
There were a number of other initiatives mentioned during the estimates hearings, and I would like to briefly reflect on those. There will be significant infrastructure and IT upgrades. One issue in the context of IT upgrades that I would like to mention is the ability to search Hansard and committee reports. Currently we have a very limited search function and it would be an enormous benefit if we were able to extend that so that we could use Boolean operators particularly to assist in searching the Hansard.
Additionally I understand that many of the sustainability initiatives have been implemented and the subcommittee will continue to work on further initiatives. It appears that much of the low-hanging fruit has now been found and it will be more challenging to achieve further gains in water and energy efficiency in the future. I am very pleased that the subcommittee tasked with this job will continue to work on further improvements and I think we should be very pleased that the Assembly is leading the way across government in responding to the sustainability challenges before us.
I also take note of the change to in-house provision of finance services. As Mr Smyth mentioned, this has been taken back into the Assembly and 1.6 new positions have