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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 December 2020) . . Page.. 76 ..

MRS JONES: Minister, which of the following messes will you address first: women in the wrong part of the prison; women not having a specific area for themselves; the staff not wanting to go to work; the violent nature of the prison; the number of problems with drugs in the facility; the number of drugs coming in over the walls in tennis balls; and the feeling of insecurity for people working in the facility, given the number of shifts that are available in the place? Which of those messes will you be fixing first?

MR GENTLEMAN: I think these are all challenges. I would not describe them as messes, as Mrs Jones has described them, but they are certainly challenges that occur in every correctional facility across Australia, and they are challenges for us as a community to look at as well. It will be my focus to ensure that, as I said, we can provide safety and the opportunity for future work for the staff but also address all of the points Mrs Jones has indicated.

Government—procurement policy

MS CLAY: My question is to the Chief Minister and relates to ethical government procurement. Given the global divestment movement, what steps has the government taken to ensure that government contracts are not awarded to companies that have a significant and proximate relationship with the fossil fuel industry or to companies that have failed to rule out working on fossil fuel projects?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Clay for the question. The government has released the Government Procurement (Charter of Procurement Values) Direction 2020, which came into effect in September. This applies to all procurement and disposal activities by territory entities covered by the Government Procurement Act 2001 and the Government Procurement Regulation 2007.

This charter of procurement values incorporates in the direction a procurement value of environmental responsibility, and this requires public officials to consider the environmental impact of procurement and disposal decisions. This includes considerations that draw on, for example, the natural resources consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of a procurement and the opportunities to reduce waste and, perhaps timely today, to eliminate single-use plastics through recycling and re-use.

MS CLAY: Given the government’s responsible investment policy and the fact that the government still holds major investments in major coal, oil and gas companies like Santos Ltd, what steps will the government take to divest from fossil fuel companies?

MR BARR: I do not believe you could say that the government holds significant holdings in fossil fuel companies any more. At the end of last financial year, 30 June 2020, the government held just under $5 billion in financial investment assets. Of that $5 billion, only $36 million, or less than one per cent, 0.7 per cent, was invested in listed companies that would have any remaining exposure to fossil fuel reserves. Of that $36 million, I am advised that $24 million is in eight Australian companies and $12 million in 16 global companies. That is a very small exposure.

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