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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1356 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

It should be understood that commercial-in-confidence status would be afforded only in the limited circumstances set out in these guidelines. Discussions on these issues should occur early in any negotiation before potentially confidential information comes into the possession of the Territory.

As I have already asked, has this occurred? Has there been discussion with these contractors? The guidelines also state:

confidentiality will be afforded only in accordance with these guidelines. Contracting firms or individuals should clearly identify, in writing, any information they believe is confidential. Agencies, in consultation with the contracting party, must resolve which information will be considered as confidential before the matter proceeds.

Has any of this occurred? The guidelines go on to say:

Where it is agreed that information is confidential, the party providing the information should be advised in writing that confidentiality may be subject to exceptions where the information - - -

Mr Humphries: I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. Ms Tucker is asking a number of questions about the application of the confidentiality guidelines. Those are reasonable questions to ask, but they do not relate to the motion before the Assembly today. That is all about other information. None of the information Ms Tucker is saying she wants is contained within the motion that is before the Assembly today. I simply raise the question of relevance of these comments to the motion before us.

MR SPEAKER: Be guided, Ms Tucker.

MS TUCKER: I would argue very strongly that it is relevant. The Assembly has asked for information today and we have been told that there are issues of commercial-in-confidence. I am saying that we need to take into account what this Government has said itself about commercial-in-confidence. We need to see the Government respecting those guidelines before it makes claims in this place that particular information is not appropriate. I am finished on that point anyway. I think I have made my point, Mr Speaker.

I am quite supportive of this motion. I think it will enable members to access information which is important and is of concern to the community. I acknowledge the extension of time requested by the Government in Mr Humphries' foreshadowed amendments. The Labor Party have come up with a way of accommodating the concern about the time that was given, so I will support Mr Berry's amendment to the timing. I will not be supporting Mr Humphries' amendments, but I would want to see a good justification from government if there are claims of commercial-in-confidence.

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