Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2174 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

is not possible to dispose of waste at the incinerator at Mitchell. The Government has an obligation to inform the Assembly whether or not $600,000 is needed for the Totalcare incinerator at Mitchell on top of the $300,000 already committed.

MR SPEAKER: You are on your second 10 minutes, Mr Corbell.

MR CORBELL: I was concerned to see that there was no strong commitment from the Government in relation to the Competition Policy Forum or its successor. The Estimates Committee was very concerned to see that the Government's proposals were not consistent with the recommendations the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio made last year. It was the committee's view that they should have been. Again, I believe that the Government should be explaining why it is not pursuing the recommendations of the standing committee but instead pushing ahead, as it usually does, with its own proposals, regardless of any advice that comes from the standing committee process.

Those are a significant range of issues coming out of the Estimates Committee report which the Government has not adequately addressed. It is concerning that the Government will always put a gloss on how it responds to an Estimates Committee report. It says that it is responding to a large number of the committee's recommendations, but when you dig slightly below the surface you see that that is certainly not the case. Quite often recommendations are accepted in writing but certainly not in practice.

MR BERRY (4.00): The first thing I want to draw attention to in relation to the Chief Minister's line in the budget is the spectre which appeared at the Estimates Committee - I do not know whether this has been mentioned to this point - of the Chief Minister attempting to stand over the Auditor-General in relation to the evidence that he was giving to the committee. I have been associated with the Estimates Committee on one side or the other of the debate ever since I came here, and I have never seen or expected such a thing. After the event I thought I should have said something about that, but such an unexpected turn of events took me a little bit off guard.

It struck me as an appalling picture in the scrutiny process here in the ACT that the Auditor-General, who is as a statutory officer charged with the great responsibility of scrutinising the ACT Government and who was giving independent advice to the Estimates Committee, was being stood over by the Chief Minister and being urged to consider evidence and support evidence of her own. That, to me, was troubling, and it should be to anybody else who remembers the incident. It was something of a surprise. I know at the time things were not going the Chief Minister's way and there would have been some sort of an urge in anybody to do something about it, but I thought that a bit of restraint would have been more in order in those circumstances. That tells us a little bit about the way this Chief Minister and Treasurer and this Government operate.

Earlier I heard some comment about open and accountable government. When we look at the Bruce Stadium imbroglio, we find that open and accountable government comes to us when information about events which are going on behind the scenes is apparently leaked to the media. I find that sort of openness and accountability a little distressing, and I think most people in the community would too. It is not good enough for the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .