Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (20 April) . . Page.. 954 ..
MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):
I believe that our committees should strive to work towards completing sensible and unanimous reports wherever possible. I see the role of the committee system as keeping the various departments honest, and analysing where improvements can be made for the benefit of those departments and for the benefit of the community. Mr Hird, as chair, did everything possible to ensure that this was achieved with this report. He respected the input of both Mr Corbell and I and could not have been more cooperative in incorporating our views in a balanced appraisal. The fact that this is a unanimous report underlines Mr Hird's commitment to ensuring that this was an objective report.
Mr Speaker, in the 27 recommendations there is criticism of the Government's formulation of the draft capital works. There were varying standards of justification for spending, and the committee has served its role by making it known to certain departments that they do have to lift their game in this area.
The committee secretary, Rod Power, did a sterling job in coordinating this report, particularly considering some of the hurdles which were put in his way. For example, I was disappointed by the lack of punctuality in respect of the submission from the Chief Minister's Department. This submission arrived the day before the first public hearing, and about two weeks after the other departments. This placed an unfair burden on the committee, and I would expect a marked improvement from this department in the future.
Mr Speaker, I will touch on a couple of topics raised in the report. Firstly, I would like to mention the Government's continued emphasis on the redevelopment of the city centre and increased public participation in the city heart. There is another $3m set aside in the draft capital works program for construction activity in Civic alone, and I am concerned that other areas, such as Belconnen, are going to be left behind.
There is real concern in my electorate of Ginninderra that the continued weight of activity on Civic is being done to the neglect of facilities and services in Belconnen. In future I would like to see a concerted focus on bringing alive the Lake Ginninderra foreshores, for example. There is enormous potential in the Belconnen lake and it is nowhere near being realised. Greater focus would certainly be a lift for business and the community in Belconnen. The Belconnen community is also eager to know what is happening with the Belconnen aquatic centre. The Government has had the latest report for more than a month, and I urge that that report be released before the budget, as recommended by this committee.
Overall, Mr Speaker, I think members will agree that the report is fair and constructive, and I urge the Government to take on board the recommendations contained in it.
MS TUCKER (11.34): I also would like to make a few comments about the committee's report as it raises some bigger issues to do with the Government's budget and what appears to be its fairly ad hoc approach to determining which capital works projects get funded and which do not. This has already been raised as an issue of concern by Mr Corbell, particularly.