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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2912 ..

Public Servants - Conflict of Interest

(Question No. 191)

Ms Tucker asked the Chief Minister, upon notice, on 2 September 1999:

In relation to the general obligations on public employees to avoid conflicts of interest in the performance of their duties under the Public Sector Management Act 1994

could you provide a list of all chief executives and other senior executives who have been (a) given approval to hold other employment, (b) to engage in any business or

profession, or (c) act as a director of a company, outside of their current position,


(1) Name and position of the officer;

(2) The nature of the additional employment or business;

(3) When approval was granted and by whom.

Ms Carnell: The answer to the Member's question is as follows:

In common with all public employees, Executive employees are obliged under section 9 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 to declare and avoid conflicts of interest in the performance of their duties.

Executive employees also make a written declaration of personal and financial interests for themselves and immediate family members in a document often referred to as a Bowen declaration. Given the personal nature of these records, they are stored securely to avoid breaches of privacy. These declarations are made as a record of interests and do not replace the on-going responsibility for identifying and declaring conflicts of interest that rests with each Executive.

Any employment in addition to public duty is considered in terms of the provisions of Executive contracts. Clause 9 of the contract states that "The Executive shall comply with Section 244 of the Act as if the Executive were an officer". This means Executives must seek written approval of their Chief Executive for outside employment. Section 35 requires Chief Executives to seek the written approval of the Chief Minister before accepting or engaging in any remunerative employment outside of their public duty.

Given the personal nature of this information and the approval processes in place, it is considered that provision of the details requested unreasonably breaches the privacy of individuals concerned in the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing.

I have made the point on a number of occasions that it is inappropriate to raise this kind of issue in the context of parliamentary debate. If any Member has specific concerns about an individual, they should raise those with me directly so the issue can be addressed.

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