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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2326 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Mr Speaker, this report recommends that the Government report to the Assembly on progress with the dispute about allegedly incorrect severance payments claimed by the audit and that the Government report also on the review of the Legislative Assembly (Members Staff) Act 1989. The claimed overpayments of members' staff arise from lack of certainty as to the circumstances under which payments could be made. The audit also uncovered deficiencies in documentation relating to the payment of meal and other allowances to members' staff. Following an approach to the Chief Minister about the audit findings, the committee notes that the Government has put procedures in place to protect documentation and that recovery action on the claimed severance overpayments has begun.

A major problem with the administration of members' staff is uncertainty in relation to the operation of the Legislative Assembly (Members Staff) Act 1989. This was acknowledged to the committee by the Chief Minister, who advised that a review of the Act is under way. The committee notes that, arising from an Auditor-General's report of 1992 concerning the payment of salary and other entitlements to members and their staff, a review of the LA(MS) Act commenced. To date there appears to have been little progress with the review, notwithstanding that the Assembly Secretariat, in its annual report for 1994-95, drew attention to certain systemic deficiencies in regard to the management of staff employed under the Act and noted the need for a review of the Act. The committee trusts that its recommendation will result in a speedy resolution of the problems which continue to arise from the form and administration of the LA(MS) Act.

Debate (on motion by Mr Kaine) adjourned.




Debate resumed from 20 June 1996, on motion by Mrs Carnell:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SPEAKER: Is it the wish of the Assembly to debate this order of the day concurrently with the Health and Community Care Services (Consequential Provisions) Bill 1996? There being no objection, that course will be followed. I remind members that in debating order of the day No. 3 they may also address their remarks to order of the day No. 4.

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