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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2292 ..

Kennelling Costs

MR CORBELL: My question is to the Chief Minister. Can the Chief Minister say whether it is normal ACT government practice to pay the costs for kennelling the dog of a former government employee?

MS CARNELL: I am taking into account that Mr Corbell has chosen to raise this question in the media prior to doing so in this place, Mr Speaker. I am advised that the amount that was paid to the senior executive in question was paid as part of the normal separation arrangements for positions such as his. I am also advised that the executive's entitlements are consistent with the Public Sector Management Standards which applied to executive contract arrangements at that time. The circumstances were, as I understand it, that the executive took up a contract and was entitled to the prescribed relocation expenses at the end of his contract. For family reasons, the family returned to Sydney in the course of the contract.

Mr Speaker, when those opposite get stuck into public servants, sometimes they should understand that there are often very definite personal reasons involved in these things. Those opposite should be a tiny bit sensitive to these things. Obviously they were not in this case. I understand that the executive agreed to stay on and to meet his obligations and responsibilities associated with the preparation of the budget at that time. At a time convenient to and agreed with the employer, the executive concluded the contract and returned to Sydney. The completion of a fixed term contract occurs at whatever date the contract terminates, whether the contract expires or an earlier date is negotiated. It is incorrect to suggest that the entitlement only accrues at the expiry of the term originally negotiated. The department has confirmed this in discussion with legal advisers this morning. At this time, and in accordance with the relevant public sector management standard, he was reimbursed relocation expenses consistent with his normal entitlements.

Mr Speaker, members may be interested to know that the Remuneration Tribunal, after this particular relocation was finished, did change those provisions, and I understand that executives no longer will be entitled to relocation expenses at the end of a contract.

MR CORBELL: Can the Chief Minister indicate exactly which standards this payment complies with, or which standard it complied with at the time? Can she further explain to the Assembly why the Territory paid the relocation costs in contravention of standard 14, rule 10.8 of Public Sector Management Standards that were in force at the time after the officer had resigned from the ACT Public Service? I seek leave to table the relevant documents associated with this.

Leave granted.

MS CARNELL: Are they still the 1994 ones you gave to the media last night? Mr Speaker, it is hard without seeing them, just as it was hard to make comments when Mr Corbell did not make the documents available to the Government last night when he released them.

Mr Corbell: Oh dear.

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