Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 15 December 2016) . . Page.. 259 ..
I would like us to look into the applicability of recommendations and findings in the report Employment of people with disability in the APS published by the University of Canberra recently. It was a report that looked into the barriers faced by employees with a disability in the Australian public service.
Madam Speaker, a city that has an active and diverse workforce builds not only social cohesion but economic prosperity. That is why ensuring people with a disability have employment opportunities in the ACT is important. This is something the community has put forward and something that I hope the Standing Committee on Health, Aging, and Community Services can consider.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (12.28): I thank Mr Steel for his motion today, but I indicate that the Greens will actually be moving to adjourn this debate and the subsequent referral to committee. The merits of the case that Mr Steel has just put are I think quite self-evident. He makes some interesting points and some very important points around consideration of issues. But I think there is an important matter of principle here about how these committees are established at the start of the new term of the Assembly.
Most of these committees have not yet met. Therefore, these committees have not had a chance to discuss their respective work plans. We have formed a view that it is probably better that the committees actually meet and they actually discuss with all of the members what the work plans should be and what a range of members have an interest in.
There may well be a lot of common ground. Given the points that Mr Steel has just made, the committee may well agree that this is a matter worth looking into. But we do think that it is better that the committees work collaboratively, that opposition members and, in some of the cases, crossbench members, be consulted on the work plans of the committees. We will be seeking to adjourn this motion and the ensuing four motions so that the committees have a chance to have their first meetings and so that committee members may collaborate to establish the issues they wish to look to.
That is not to say that there should not be a time when this Assembly might seek to establish a committee directly. But I think it is quite different to consider things at the start of the term, before the committees have even met, rather than later in the term when there is a particular issue that the Assembly wishes to look into.
Equally, with two-and-two committees, if a committee cannot agree together to self-refer a matter—which, of course, exists for committees; they can meet tomorrow or next week and self-refer matters and get on with work if that is what they want to do—then, yes, the Assembly will have to resolve it and the balance of power numbers will have to be brought into that discussion.
But our view is that the committees should take the time to sit down and have those initial discussions. Ideally, we look forward to hearing the outcome of some self-referrals from those committees in the first instance.