Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3508 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
No-one can doubt that. Under subsection 5A, the public authority must within the prescribed time after the end of each reporting period of the authority present to the responsible Minister a report relating to the operations of the authority in that reporting period.
That effectively says all public authorities must report to their responsible Minister about their functions during the year. At present, under the annual reports Act, all reports go to the CEOs who include them in their own annual reports, which are then tabled. Administratively that is a much more sensible way of doing things. This will go back to a situation where every public authority will do an individual report to their individual Minister. That would be basically against the decision of this Assembly in terms of passing the annual reports Act.
It would mean all reports would then go to Ministers individually, rather than what occurs at present. The Official Visitor is a public authority by declaration of the Chief Minister. Ms Tucker would override what occurs under the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 1995. That is the effect of this. I do not think that is a very sensible way of going about this, especially when you have provisions such as 41(4) in relation to the Official Visitor. Maybe she did not quite perceive that would be the effect; that this would be completely counter to what the annual reports Act is all about. It would substantially increase the volume of reports and cause all sorts of problems that the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act overcame. I do not think anyone has had any problems in terms of the operation of that Act.
MR WOOD (5.52): Mr Speaker, I certainly support the notion that the reports of the Official Visitor should be incorporated into the annual reports of the departments. I am happy to let that continue. But I do not understand the complexity of this amendment, I am afraid. Ms Tucker explained well the need for the Official Visitor's report to be presented. But I do not comprehend the mechanism she has used to do that. I understand at the moment the process is that the Chief Minister gives a list of those annual reports that have to be put down.
In my inquiry into this I was assisted by some good advice. We found, as we have seen in the documents in the annual reports, that the Official Visitor's annual report on Quamby was included in the Department of Education and Community Services' annual report. It was there. That was, no doubt, as a result of the listing by the Chief Minister. But the Official Visitor's report on the Belconnen Remand Centre was not found. It may be there somewhere, but it was not found in the list. So maybe that slipped through.
Now that Quamby has gone over to Justice and Community Safety, I want to be assured - and I am sorry the Minister is not here - that the Official Visitor's reports on the annual basis are to be so included. But I will not go down the path of insisting on that. I will wait for the Chief Minister or I will check if necessary with the Chief Minister that the Official Visitor's annual reports will be incorporated into Justice and Community Safety. The process in place ought to be sufficient.