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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3688 ..

Ms Tucker: It includes sport, does it? I don't think it does.

MR HUMPHRIES: I don't think that is the case. They are separately titled because some sport is not recreation - some sport is very professional, not in a recreational sense. Certainly Mr Stefaniak's portfolio covers beyond recreational sport; it covers professional sport as well. I am just making this observation. I do not have a great strength of view about the amendments, but I am just not sure that they actually achieve quite as much as the mover of the motion has suggested that they will.

MS TUCKER (11.31): I voice a couple of concerns, echoing Mr Kaine to some degree. It is not a major issue. We have had imposed upon us this arrangement of committees. We have been able to work with some flexibility though because we obviously, in my committee, the Standing Committee on Education, seek the views of other Ministers or officials of other departments if we believe that it is relevant to the topic that we are inquiring into. It has been established that that is quite acceptable, which it should be.

The issue of what we have lost in terms of trying to align the committees so closely with ministerial responsibility is the ability to have an overarching look at particular issues of concern and importance to the ACT community. When we had a social policy committee there was the ability to take that very broad view. It is interesting to note that the Chief Minister appears to have finally recognised the need for that broader view to be taken when she herself has now, as I understand it, although I am not sure what has been produced from that work yet, taken control of a social policy unit - so-called, or something like that - in her work. I think that that is a step forward.

For a long time the Greens have been asking to see some kind of social policy unit established in the ACT Government and also a social plan to be developed - although Mr Moore is working on that, to a degree, with the healthy cities plan, I believe, at the moment. It is interesting that we still are not able to have that holistic overview taken within the committee structure and we are still stuck with this.

One of the concerns that keep coming up in my committee inquiries is the fragmentation of government services, particularly in the issues that I look at in the Education, Community Services and Recreation Committee, because so many of them involve input from different departments. Often we end up making a recommendation or an expression of concern about the lack of coordination between the various government departments.

It comes up in other reports around Australia. This is not a unique problem for the ACT. It is a very clear problem in all governments - as far as I can gather from reading reports - that look at social issues in other areas of Australia. It comes up as an issue of concern quite often. It is obviously a challenge for government to try to make systems which allow proper coordination and interrelating between different departmental responsibility.

This Government places a very strong onus on individual departments and chief executive officers to work with their particular area within their budget and within those budget parameters. There is a real danger that you see people saying, "That is not my problem. It fits somewhere else". Then gaps can become apparent where a particular issue does not fit in anyone's distinct portfolio area. We then have a problem.

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