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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4063 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Mr Speaker, this motion arises because of some unavoidable delays which have occurred in relation to the operations of - - -

Mr Humphries: Huh!

MR BERRY: Mr Humphries interjects. Mr Humphries, if you want to interject, you should remind yourself of the days when you were the chair of the justice committee or its predecessor and how many months it was that you sat doing nothing.

MR SPEAKER: Order! We have a lot to get on with.

Mr Moore: I rise to a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wonder whether "Huh!" is an interjection.

MR SPEAKER: There will not be any "Ho, ho, hos" if we do not get on with the work.

MR BERRY: Are we all finished? The committee published an advertisement in the local newspapers calling for submissions to be left with the committee office by Friday, 13 August 1999. The Government, of course, had to have an extension of time in relation to its submission to the committee, which was delayed. Mr Speaker, we also allowed others who had expressed some difficulty in meeting the August deadline to submit by 21 September. We received the Government's submission on 24 September. A crucial submission from the Insurance Council of Australia was not received until 19 November 1999. We felt, as you would agree, Mr Speaker, that is was necessary to have the Insurance Council's submission.

The committee had a briefing from ACT WorkCover on 12 November 1999. We have put some questions on notice in relation to that and they have not yet been answered. You will recall, Mr Speaker, that that briefing also involved some crucial information which the committee will need to have before it proceeds much further. There has also been the issue of the limited availability of members, officials and other stakeholders over the Christmas-New Year period and, of course, the busy schedule of other committees of this place in which members are involved from time to time. Mr Speaker, the committee has agreed that the time for the consideration of this matter should be extended and that the committee must report by the last sitting day of May 2000. That completes the picture, Mr Speaker.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (10.54): Mr Speaker, the Government opposed the setting up of this select committee - indeed, most of the select committees - simply because we have a structure in place for these inquiries through the standing committees. This year all the select committees seem to be coming back to ask for extensions of time. The housing committee has, as has the Government Contracting and Procurement Processes Committee. Now we have the Workers Compensation Committee doing exactly the same. These committees were set up because the subjects of the inquiries were said to be urgent and important, yet there does not seem to be a great sense of urgency or importance in the way that they are being treated. The Government accepts that they need more time. Mr Berry, in his comments, said, "We are busy. There are other committees of this place". The reality of the situation is that these things should be done through the standing committee set-up. What we are seeing

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