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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 404 ..

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Thank you for that, Chief Minister. You also said on the same program, as you have just indicated, that it was established under Federal competition arrangements. Can you tell us, then, how it is that Federal legislation can create bureaucratic operations within the Territory administration?

MS CARNELL: As members who were here at the time would know, that legislation, the national legislation, was then followed up by legislation in the ACT after the agreement was signed, for us to, I suppose, mirror those sorts of legislative requirements. The agreement was signed by Rosemary Follett, and the national competition legislation was brought forward into this place. That is how the process works. Rosemary signed the agreement put forward by the Federal Labor Government. They passed legislation federally, and legislation was followed up in the ACT as it was in the States.

Competition Policy Forum

MR WOOD: My question is also to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, on ABC radio on 8 May, in answer to a question about why the Government had not referred the Belconnen pool issue to the Competition Policy Forum, you said:

... because the Forum said they didn't want the government to refer things to them. They actually made a decision last year that they believed it was inappropriate for the government to ... refer issues directly to this Forum.

Chief Minister, can you tell the Assembly in what form that decision of the Competition Policy Forum was made, and when and how it was conveyed to you?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I think there was some minor debate, probably in this place as well, from memory, because I remember there was some deal of concern by that forum or by some people on that forum. Whether or not it was actually in the Assembly, I cannot remember; but there was some real concern from the forum that having public servants as part of the forum and having those public servants put together the agendas for those meetings was, shall we say, directing the forum. The view of the forum, as it was put forward to me by the public servants involved - and I think by others as well - was that the forum wanted to be able to investigate the things that it wanted to investigate or believed needed to be investigated; not the things that the Government wanted investigated. In fact, it was put to me that the forum did not want to be an arm of government; they wanted to be independent, looking at the things that they thought were important.

Mr Speaker, it is also interesting to note, with regard to the Competition Policy Forum, that the last two meetings have been cancelled. The reason the last two meetings have been cancelled is that there has not been a quorum. The person who was most vocal - the only person who was vocal, I think, in recent days - was part of the problem by not turning up at those meetings. It has also been indicated to me that the forum has been

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