Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1433 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
This local report was attempting to ensure that at least there would be some dialogue, some debate, about the appropriateness of putting services into boxes. This report was attempting to ensure that the community would be supported if they were forced to do this; that they would be resourced appropriately. I guess what we need to see the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee do through this reference is give the community an opportunity to say how they believe the recommendations of that report are being progressed and to give the committee an opportunity to evaluate how service purchasing is being implemented in the ACT and to evaluate how the recommendations of this report are being progressed.
I believe the issue of the resourcing of groups will come up a lot. The pricing of services is also controversial and, from my understanding of it, has not been given adequate attention from government. The partnership that is supposed to exist between providers and government does not seem to have great meaning for government if you look at the way some groups that I have become aware of have been treated as partners. I guess what we will find out through this inquiry is exactly the state of play in this issue. As I said, I believe it is one of the very important issues in the ACT.
It is an ideologically-driven approach, to a degree that we have this great obsession with financial clarity, transparency and accountability. Of course, no-one objects to that, but when it is at the expense of issues like quality we get worried. That is what we find coming up from communities around Canberra and around Australia at the moment. How are we describing quality in these contracts? How are we specifying in contracts the reality of the services that are being provided by the community sector? There is so much coming out of community services that will not necessarily fit into an output model.
We do not know how to describe quality. We are very unsophisticated at this point in doing that. That is why I believe this is a critical issue and that the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee should involve the community in a meaningful way in discussion of this matter.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (11.11): Mr Speaker, I move:
That notwithstanding standing order 16(1)(a)(ii), the Protocol for Government Interaction with Assembly Committee Inquiries be referred to the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio for inquiry and report to the Assembly.
I present the Protocol for Government Interaction with Assembly Committee Inquiries. Mr Speaker, the protocol that I have tabled outlines processes and practices for Ministers and officials to follow in their contact with Assembly committees. Under our system of government the Executive is accountable to the Assembly. Accordingly, the protocol emphasises the role of Ministers in contact with committees. It is Ministers who should