Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 2785 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
also for the work that is being done on the regulatory reform. Mr Speaker, I am fairly confident that the contract for regulatory reform has either been signed or is in the process of being signed. But, of course, that will happen whether ACTEW is sold or not.
MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Berry, who chaired the Estimates Committee. I ask Mr Berry: When was the Estimates Committee report on annual and financial reports distributed, and to whom? Are claims that the Government did not receive the report until it was tabled this morning correct?
MR BERRY: I would like to thank Mr Corbell for the question. Mr Speaker, I was as surprised as anybody this morning when the Chief Minister made the claim that the Estimates Committee report had not been distributed to the Government before it was tabled this morning, because I know from my involvement in committees in this place that committees' support staff very quickly distribute documents following committee inquiries, as those of you who have been involved in committee proceedings would appreciate. So I was as surprised as anybody. But, after Mrs Carnell made that claim, I was even more surprised at the way she was able to address the report, because she had a very good and well-briefed speech ready to deal with the report. I must say that I was impressed at her response to the report, given that she had not had it for very long.
What I would also say, Mr Speaker, is that the hard copy of the report was circulated to members at about 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, just after I received it. Mr Hird would have received his copy at about 4 o'clock. So I am surprised that Mrs Carnell was not given a copy by Mr Hird. In any event, because I was so horrified at this claim, I thought that I would ask a question or two as to the usual practice of distributing reports. So I went to the office of the secretariat and asked a question of them. My advice was along the following lines: The report was distributed electronically to three addresses in the Chief Minister's Department.
Ms Carnell: The department. Is my address there?
MR BERRY: Hang on. No, no, no; just settle down, Chief Minister. It was distributed to another address in the Department of Public Administration and another address in the Chief Minister's office. It was distributed at 4.52 pm. Do you know that it was accessed at 6.13 pm? So Mrs Carnell's office had it - - -
Ms Carnell: But I didn't.
MR BERRY: The Chief Minister is now suggesting to us that her expert staff do not tell her anything. Well, I don't believe that, and who else would? I was most concerned at the slight on committee staff, given the emphasis that the Chief Minister has put on the performance of public servants in the ACT. I was a little concerned about that. The Chief Minister's claims that this was not distributed to the Government were completely inaccurate.