Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2142 ..
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.55): I thank all members for their contributions today. It is lovely to see that we are in furious agreement that there should be a chief engineer coming up very shortly. But, Madam Speaker, I would like to remind you of the wording of the Chief Minister’s media release on 4 June, a year ago. He said:
I have asked Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman to take responsibility for the development of the Chief Engineer position. As I committed during the election process, this position will be filled in the next financial year.
So either the Chief Minister was unduly optimistic or Mr Gentleman has been tardy, but neither of them have actually achieved what the Chief Minister outlined. It is good to know that it is going to happen shortly but unless it is going to be announced in the next couple of weeks before the end of June—
Mr Barr: You never know your luck in a medium-sized city, do you?
MS LAWDER: You never know your luck. I look forward to that because it is the end result that matters here. It is interesting that Mr Gentleman mentioned he has been engaging with key stakeholders, as have I. I have received comments from some of the stakeholders, including from the ACT manager for Consult Australia, who says:
This position is not about a ship’s engine room: it is about seeing the horizon, maintaining direction amidst short-term pressures and political storms, while being able to tweak the engine room if need be. It is strategic and she or he—
that is, the chief engineer—
must do as all great cities do: think in decades and plan for the future.
And from another of the peak bodies that was in the consultation process, the quote is as follows:
Concerned that without clear additional funding the role of Chief Engineer will be unlikely to deliver the benefits that are possible if there was an appropriately funded Chief Engineer position.
I do not think everything is necessarily as well settled as it could be with the position of the chief engineer. At this point I will take in good faith Mr Gentleman’s assurance that the position is going to be filled soon, despite the fact that it has been quite some time in the making—18 months or more since the election promise and 12 months since the Chief Minister made the announcement and asked Mr Gentleman to fill the position within the year.
Hopefully, that will be done in the next couple of weeks and hopefully we, as a city, will gain the benefits of that appointment of the chief engineer. It is something that we all agree is important. It is something that will bring benefits to the ACT community. It is a pity that it has taken this long for the relevant minister to put the rubber on the road and actually get on with the appointment.