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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3707 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

The Government indicated its view some time ago that it wanted to engage in that sort of reform. I mentioned it in the course of the media release because it is an issue which I believe ought to be put on the record at this point in time. It is most unlikely that any amendments to the legislation would be introduced or much less passed before this particular application for transfer of a sports betting licence is considered by the Bookmakers Licensing Committee or by the Gambling and Racing Commission. So my comments are irrelevant in that respect to this particular application, but they are worth bearing in mind for future applications when and if the Assembly sees fit to pass the amendments.

Mr Speaker, I think the reasons for the amendments are fairly self-explanatory, based on what I have just said. There is a need to make sure that those who are associated with the handling of bets and the activities associated with gambling, particularly high volume, potentially lucrative exercises such as this, are seen to be people with a fit and proper background to conduct that kind of business and not to be people of influence over such people and who may exercise undue influence. That is the concern that this Government has. I put that on the record very squarely. We look forward to being able to bring that forward and have the Assembly support those concerns when the legislation is ready.

Coronial Inquiry into Canberra Hospital Implosion

MR BERRY: My question is to the Chief Minister. In his report on the inquest that followed the Canberra Hospital implosion and the fatal public event which you fully endorsed, the coroner recommended that the project manager, Project Coordination, be disqualified from future contracts until it could satisfy the Government that it fully understood the nature of its appointments in both fact and law. You, Chief Minister, are on the public record as committing the Government to act on all of the recommendations of the coroner. What steps has the Government taken to satisfy this recommendation of the coroner?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, as members would know, I announced yesterday a whole list of things that we were doing with regard to the implementation of the coroner's recommendations. They have included, of course, putting on an independent person at arms length from government to assess the approach that we have taken to ensure that it is benchmarked in every area. I am sure that at least most people, apart from those opposite, would agree that our choice in that area is beyond reproach.

I also indicated that that report would be tabled in this Assembly in the first sitting in the new year to ensure that the response that we are taking is appropriate. It is certainly true that before this Government enters into any new contracts with Project Coordination we will ensure that they do understand their responsibilities.

MR BERRY: Is it not true, Chief Minister, that you have not spoken with Project Coordination at all in relation to the coroner's report?

Ms Carnell: Personally?

Mr Humphries: Why should she?

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