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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3687 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

compelled to make changes to it because there have been changes in ministerial and portfolio responsibilities. This matter needs a much more extensive look than just this cursory look resulting in these few changes proposed by Mr Quinlan today. We need to look at that matter in much more detail.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (11.27): I have to confess the Government does not have a strong view about these amendments either way. We see there being some basis for the change to the name of the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee because it now covers more than just the Chief Minister's portfolio. I do not have a particularly strong argument with the title of Finance and Public Administration.

I agree with one thing Mr Kaine said and disagree with another. I disagree very strongly with what he said about the committee system being unworkable. I am not on these committees but it is quite an exaggeration to say that the committee system of the Assembly is unworkable.

Mr Quinlan: It's hell out there, Gary.

MR HUMPHRIES: It is hell out there, is it? Perhaps there are more grey hairs than I care to count on members who are chairpeople of committees. The committees tell us how hard they work and how good the reports are. Presumably if they are producing, through hard work, very good reports, they are not entirely unworkable. That is just my observation from a distance.

I agree with Mr Kaine's comments about the problem with the constant changes of name. There will be adjustments from time to time in the structure of the ministry - that is inevitable. This happens with every government. It is not surprising that there will need to be some adjustment in those circumstances.

There is a danger in being too prescriptive about the names of the committees and there is a likelihood that, at the end of the day, the committees will not greatly assist the task of advising people what they do because the names have changed. For example, it is now proposed that we have a Planning and Urban Services Committee. I understand people have been asking who looks after planning. We tell them that that belongs to the Urban Services Committee. People will still ask the question, "Who looks after housing? Where's the housing committee?", and we will say, "Oh, that's the Planning and Urban Services Committee". They will say, "Who looks after heritage?", and we will say, "Oh, that's the Planning and Urban Services Committee". "Who looks after the arts?". "Oh, that's the Finance and Public Administration Committee". "Who looks after sport?". "That's the Education, Community Services and Recreation Committee".

There will always be those questions. I am not sure this process of partly picking up more names addresses it entirely. I am, for example, curious as to why the Education Committee covers recreation in its title but not sport, given that sport is in fact a larger part of the budget than recreation.

Mr Quinlan: It's a more embracing term.

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