Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 127 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
community in this sector are saying. If that is the case, then all the excuses, the frustration at the disharmony and the friction between the groups mean nothing. That is the only thing you will get if you do not actually give these people an opportunity to say what they want about their own lives, which is what every one of us wants. There will be continuing tension.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (11.34): Mr Speaker, I think that it is really important at this stage to stand up and, I suppose, give the other side of the story - or maybe not give the other side of the story, but try to put the Kendrick report in a little bit of context here. I think that the department has been given a pretty rough deal on this, and I do not think that that is totally fair. I think we all accept that this project could have been managed better; but it is probably a good idea at this time to actually make some comments or to quote out of the Kendrick report itself.
Kendrick, of course, did make the point that, from his perspective anyway, the model that was chosen was suboptimal from the beginning. Certainly, that did happen under the previous Government. There is no doubt about that. But also we took it on board, and we took it on board enthusiastically. So, I am not stepping away from it. But Kendrick's basic comments have been, "Really, right from the beginning, you probably chose a model that had a tendency to lend itself to institutionalisation, shall we say". But, for all of that, a decision was made by the previous Government; we picked it up and we ran with it. I will quote from Kendrick. Under "Key Issues", he said:
In reality, in recent months the department has indeed done better in managing the project and had moved to make changes and improvements very much along the lines outlined later in this report.
So, Kendrick himself has said that the department realised that there were problems - and there is no doubt about that - but it had already moved to start fixing them even before the Kendrick report. So, I think that means that we have to say, "Well done, department". This is a difficult issue, and they have moved to solve a number of the problems.
Mr Quinlan: I thought Kendrick said to some extent the department was the problem.
MS CARNELL: No. That is actually not the case. I think that is the issue I am just trying to solve here. Another example is where he actually does talk about the mishandling of the COOOL project by the department. He says:
The COOOL project spans several periods in government and it needs to be recognised that its implementation by the ACT Department of Health and Community Care has been only since the latter part of 1996. Even so this period has been crucial in creating what is in place today. It is this reviewer's judgment that the project has been quite seriously mishandled by the department though not to the point of abject failure.