Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 2180 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
environmental priorities, and the inadequate performance measurement tools to reflect the need for this integration. One of the recommendations in the Estimates Committee's report addresses this issue. It is recommendation No. 2, which advises the Government to identify social and environmental objectives and outcomes on a program by program basis. Acting on this would be a step in the right direction towards a more holistic approach to budget formulation. I notice in the State of the Environment Report that the Commissioner for the Environment also recommends that that sort of integration occur.
Another issue that the Greens, along with other members of the committee, plugged away at was that of more widespread representation on boards advising government. Once again, I hope that the Government - a Government that is supposedly committed to open government and intersectoral action - does not merely pay lip-service to the recommendations in these areas. These advisory boards and committees are an excellent opportunity to gain a variety of views and opinions and assist in the development of policy which is holistic and visionary.
Mr Speaker, we believe that the Government should respond positively to the recommendations of the Estimates Committee, and we believe that the Government should restore the funding to education. It will be very disappointing to the Greens if the Government does not do this. Not only would they be turning their back on an important parliamentary process; they also would be ignoring the fact that they are, after all, only a minority government. Budgets are the financial expression of government policy, and, as a minority government, the Liberals ignore the input of other members at their peril. The recommendations did represent a compromise to a degree, and I support Mr Moore's concern about the value for the Government in actually reading the text and responding to some of the issues raised there that did not receive the support of the whole committee. For example, one of our own concerns was that in the tourism strategy - this was once again in line with the State of the Environment Report - there be some real attempt to look at the impact of numbers in an overall strategy, and that there is not a market-rules-what-happens approach to these sorts of issues.
When the word "consider" is debated to the degree it has been today in this place, one is obviously left with the question: Does using that word do little more than offer a way out for the Government? I urge the Government not to use it so cynically. At this point we are prepared to work with words such as "consider" because we do so in good faith. But, if "consider" is obviously used cynically as a way out - for example, "Yes, we considered it; but, sorry, we cannot do it" - and without any real justification, then obviously words like it will not be featuring in future motions.
MR WHITECROSS (11.47): Mr Speaker, this has been my first estimates process and I was proud to take part in it because I believe that the estimates committee process is a very fundamental part of our system of government. I would like to reflect a little on that before coming to some of the specific issues that came out of the Estimates Committee consideration. It seems to me that in a lot of the debate that has gone on the role of the Estimates Committee has been muddled a bit. Mr Speaker, what we have here in Australia is a parliamentary system in which governments bring down budgets. Governments announce what they intend to do over the next year. As far as the management of the Territory goes, the government sets its priorities and submits its