Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 919 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
Let us look at what has happened. Over two years ago, on a motion moved by Ms Tucker, this Assembly directed that a competition policy forum be created. It was created in name and people were appointed to it. The motion moved by Ms Tucker and supported by this side of the house at the time was that the Government establish a forum to provide ongoing monitoring and advice on the implementation of competition policy; that the forum include representatives of community, environmental, consumer, union, business and academic organisations; and that the terms of reference enable the forum to monitor the structural reform of government business enterprises, the regulatory review process, the development of community service obligations, competitive tendering and outsourcing, and any other matter related to the competition principles agreement or the competition code.
The Competition Policy Forum was established by a motion of this Assembly over two years ago, and what do we discover in relation to the Competition Policy Forum - a body that was set up to do precisely what we would like to have done in relation to the milk industry, a body set up to do precisely what we would like to have done in relation to the Belconnen pool issue? The Government's response to the Competition Policy Forum has been not to give it a single reference, not to refer a single thing to it.
Ms Carnell: They asked not to have - - -
MR STANHOPE: That is not true.
Ms Carnell: They did not even want public servants.
MR STANHOPE: You have been exposed for your claims that the Competition Policy Forum has not been asked to do anything. I have letters from half the members of the Competition Policy Forum telling me that your claims that they were not asked to do anything are outright lies.
What facilities has the Government provided to the Competition Policy Forum to do some of the work that it could usefully do, some of the work that needs to be done, to determine exactly how we as a community are going to develop our understanding of public benefit, how we as a community are going to determine what sorts of community service obligations we should expect of the Milk Authority, or of the Bureau of Sport, Recreation and Racing in relation to the provision of swimming pools? These are all the same issues. These are issues about how we as a community will allow our notions of public benefit to be dictated to us by public servants, bureaucrats, people that are not accountable. I was a public servant for donkey's years and I have the greatest respect for public servants; but public servants should not be making decisions of this order that affect the lives of all the citizens of Canberra. This Government is abrogating its responsibility. If we do not do something about it, we as an Assembly are abrogating our responsibility to meet the needs of the people of Canberra.