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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3029 ..

MS FOLLETT (continuing):

To conclude, Mr Speaker, the Government has simply not convinced the Opposition of the need for this additional body. We are concerned about the cost of it. Over and above that concern, I am concerned about the community perception of partiality that might apply to a separately created body. We will be opposing this legislation in principle.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (11.56): Mr Speaker, the creation of an ACT Remuneration Tribunal is an appropriate and necessary step in the ACT's process of developing self-government. The creation of a separate ACT public service and the changes that we have made, even this week, to senior executive levels of the public service mark important steps away from the Commonwealth model that we inherited. The Bills before the Assembly today reflect the fact that the ACT public sector, as the Chief Minister has previously said, is not a smaller version of the Australian Public Service. It is a different organisation, which must meet different objectives. Just as the ACT now acts on its own behalf in negotiating, for example, pay levels for our public servants through the enterprise bargaining framework, so there is a need for a Territory body to determine remuneration for our ACT public service executives and statutory appointees.

The report of the Public Accounts Committee asks that we seek the views of the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal before any action is taken. Mr Speaker, Commonwealth Government departments have been consulted as necessary on technical issues. The Government does not consider that any further consultation is necessary beyond this point. We appreciate the services that the Commonwealth tribunal has provided, but the Government and the Commonwealth recognise that the ACT should start deciding these matters for itself.

Ms Follett: What evidence have you for that? What is the Commonwealth view?

MR HUMPHRIES: That is their view.

Ms Follett: I have not got it.

Mrs Carnell: They wanted us to have our own public service, did they not?

Ms Follett: Where have they said they want us to have our own remuneration tribunal?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I cannot produce their having put that in writing at the moment. They may have done so, but I do not have that available to me at the moment. Many things are said between governments, and not put in writing, necessarily.

Ms Follett: We use their police force, their Privacy Commissioner, their Ombudsman.

MR HUMPHRIES: We have our own Electoral Commission, for example, and there are some times when we feel it is appropriate to have our own services, our own facilities. With respect, it is a question of horses for courses, Mr Speaker, and we have to decide what the appropriate thing is. We on this side of the chamber believe that it is appropriate for us to have that capacity within the ACT.

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