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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4651 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

The options paper should include opportunities for implementing environmental accounting, taking account of both the existing financial management framework and Australian and international accounting standards, and investigate the feasibility of using environmental indicators developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in the ACT. That is not developed in the ACT, although it may well be. It is used in the ACT but is developed by the ABS. In the context of the ACT and capital region, the Government should consider how environmental accounting could be implemented on a regional basis. Mr Speaker, I think that is the fundamental drive of the issue.

I would like to make some additional comments about this process. The Assembly may be aware that I requested assistance from the Chief Minister for an officer to be secretary to the Planning and Environment Committee for its inquiry into the 1995 ACT State of the Environment Report and the Government's response. I was very pleased, Mr Speaker, that the Chief Minister agreed to make available a seconded officer to work in the Committee Office for the inquiry. The officer is Mr Jim Corrigan. We have been delighted with the work of that officer and we appreciate the fact that the Chief Minister made him available to us.

This report on environmental accounting being tabled today is the first of two reports that the committee has prepared with the assistance of that seconded officer. We have the State of the Environment Report which the committee will be dealing with very shortly and we also have this report that we are tabling today. The committee has a significant workload and having this seconded officer to assist the current secretary has been valuable indeed. But, Mr Speaker, it is not just a case of being valuable to the committee. I believe it will be particularly valuable for the seconded officer and it is a process that I believe we could use more frequently in the way we deal with committees. I have had discussions with the officer and I know that it has enhanced his understanding of the committee processes and Assembly workings. I think it will be very useful to him as a public servant in the ACT Public Service and for the Public Service itself to have people who have an understanding of how these processes go.

I would like to thank the Chief Minister and you, Mr Speaker, for making that process possible. I suggest strongly that the assistance of seconded officers for committees, particularly when there are heavy workloads or large inquiries, be provided more regularly. I believe it really is a valuable addition to the general work of the Assembly and of committees. Mr Speaker, I commend the report to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms McRae) adjourned.

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