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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 2817 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

got the chop. Do not give me any of that nonsense about senior officers not being accountable under the current arrangements or any other arrangements, because the government of the day, you in particular and your colleagues, Mr Kaine and so on, were able to fix that person up. He might not have felt very fixed up as a result. He probably felt done over. At the end of the day, it was your Government that was able to do that under different arrangements from those you are proposing now, so do not give me any of that tommyrot.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (3.36), in reply: I think it is time for this Assembly to be very clear about the real issues in relation to our proposal to move senior executives to performance contracts, and I stress performance contracts, because there seems to have been some misunderstanding about what a contract actually is. This is not a debate about whether we should blindly follow Commonwealth models or State models. We all know that performance-based tenure is now the norm and that most jurisdictions prefer performance contracts. It is about responsiveness and delivering the kinds of policies all parties represented in this chamber are committed to, that is, policies to achieve a better Canberra.

The proposed new arrangements are designed to ensure that our public service is focused on delivering to the people of Canberra the services and the outcomes agreed and determined by the Assembly and the Government in an expert, fair and dedicated way. Executive performance contracts will put beyond doubt that the expectations of our community, represented by its government, can be delivered, no matter what their political colour at any time, in relation to the management of our Territory. They will move us away from the hazy days when governments could say, as Mr Connolly was just saying, "It is all the public service's fault".

Ms Follett: That is what you said.

MRS CARNELL: No, I did not. This will move us away from governments being able to say, "It was the public service that let us down", or the public service saying, "But that was the fault of the Government or the Minister of the time". It will put beyond any doubt, in the relationship between Ministers and chief executives and between chief executives and their senior executives, exactly what is expected, who is responsible, what outcomes will be achieved, and at what cost.

There has been some suggestion that removing ambiguities in what is expected of the public service via employment performance contracts will somehow lead to politicisation. Quite the reverse is true. These contracts will place obligations on Ministers too. If the Public Accounts Committee can be bothered, or is even able, to discuss with other jurisdictions their experience with performance contracts, which we know they did not, they would have heard - - -

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