Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3830 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
seeking public comment over Christmas on bus regulation, which is clearly against the Government's consultation protocol? The protocol states on page 5 that an important aspect to consider is whether there is sufficient time to commence the consultation process and that choosing a time which limits people's ability to respond, such as the Christmas period, should also be avoided. Will you reconsider this timeframe and actually grant an extension of time so that the community will have a realistic opportunity to give your Government feedback?
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, it has not been raised with me by any group that they are concerned with the timeframe. Like all consultation, if we find as the period closes that we do need extra time, of course we will extend. But at this stage I have not been approached by any group, as far as I am aware, that would like to see it extended.
MS TUCKER: This is a protocol of the Government. You seem to be saying that you do not need to observe it or have regard for it. Could you tell the Assembly the consultation process that you are planning? Will it involve an opportunity for people who use buses on a regular basis to give feedback to your Government - for example, young people, elderly people, people without access to private cars? How do you plan to run this consultation process?
MR SMYTH: The Government is always happy to consult. We pride ourselves on our ability to get out there and talk with the community. We do it often, we do it widely and we actually do it well. This procedure will be advertised, the department will run the consultation and it will make sure that it gets in touch with all the groups that have an interest. But, on the other side, it is also up to all those with an interest to make sure that they avail themselves of that opportunity. I would encourage all Canberrans who have an interest in this matter to avail themselves of the consultation period.
MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, out of consideration for you, I was tempted to ask by what stroke of managerial genius are we here this afternoon when Sachin Tendulkar and India are chasing 330-plus at Manuka Oval. However, I have overcome the temptation.
MR SPEAKER: I would be quite prepared to answer the question.
MR QUINLAN: I just said that I was tempted to ask it. My actual question is a softie. It is to the Chief Minister or the Treasurer. In your Government's call for expressions of interest for ACTEW you advertised back in April, one of the criteria listed was that any proposal should maintain effective ACT government control of the core services of ACTEW Corporation. I might add that we still have not seen the assessment of the expressions of interest which was to be conducted jointly by the Government and their array of almost permanent consultants. In fact, we have no evidence whatsoever that the assessment of the expressions of interest has been completed. I trust that at some point the Chief Minister will consider it appropriate to provide this Assembly with the evaluation report, which must exist, given the statements made in the last couple of days. With respect to the latest proposal on the merger of ACTEW and AGL, we appear