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Namadgi National Park - Management Arrangements

MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, my question is addressed to the Chief Minister. Last week, half of the ACT was to be handed over to New South Wales to manage. Less than 24 hours later, it was not; but we heard that some services in our national park might be privatised. At the time, I said that I was concerned about the loss of local jobs and that I would need a lot of convincing that a handover would benefit the ACT. I want to know where this crazy idea came from. Did the Chief Minister know about it or discuss it with Mr Humphries? Did the idea come from some ideological cringe, some suggestion that the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service could do better, or that the private sector could? Our Namadgi is not only an important community asset and tourist attraction but also a major part of our water catchment. Did the Chief Minister or any bureaucrats consider the implications of handing over our water supply to another government?

MRS CARNELL: I will give that question to Mr Humphries. It is his area.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I must say that I am disappointed to hear the tone of that question from Mr Osborne. He is obviously picking up a few points from Mr Moore.

Mr Moore: Because it was a stupid idea in the first place.

MR HUMPHRIES: So you say. Mr Speaker, I might pose the question to members: Exactly what are we supposed to do in order to meet the requirements of people in this place? If we have a proposal which is floated for some issue of micro-economic reform, for management alternatives, or for whatever it might be, there are, basically, two alternatives facing any government: We can either announce immediately that we are going to explore this option and invite people to ask us what we mean by that, or immediately start to research the implications of that idea before putting it on the table for stakeholders and others to consider how they would react to that idea.

The drawbacks of the two arrangements, at least as far as some people in this place are concerned, seem to be that, if you take the first option and announce it immediately, you will get a barrage of questions coming from other people in the chamber, such as, “What do you mean by this proposal? How will it work? Who will do it? When will it happen?”. They will say, “Of course, since you have announced it without thinking it through, you obviously cannot answer those questions”, and then we will get motions of censure, claiming that we have not thought the thing through. The alternative course of action - which, I submit, is a much more sensible way of proceeding with these things - is to take an idea; work through it with appropriate officers within your own department, and elsewhere, if you need to; and, when you have an idea which is worth considering, put it on the table for stakeholders, members of the public and, of course, members of this place to consider whether or not it should be progressed. That was what this Government was doing.

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