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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4088 ..


Temporary Accommodation Allowance

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. The uncorrected proof Hansard for Tuesday of this week, at page 49, records the Chief Minister interjecting in response to part of a question I asked. I had said, in relation to the temporary accommodation allowance issue:

... in the Chief Minister's rebuttal in the Canberra Times on 2 December, she stated:

Staff were entitled to the payments under Public Sector Guidelines put in place by the former Labor Government in 1994.

Ms Carnell: That is right.

MR STANHOPE: The Chief Minister has just pre-empted my next sentence. The Hansard has the Chief Minister interjecting, "That is right". And the Chief Minister has just interjected the same again. Yesterday, the Chief Minister tabled a minute from the Commissioner for Public Administration dated 13 August 1996 that clearly indicates the temporary accommodation allowance provisions currently enjoyed by seven executives in the ACT Public Service were introduced by her Government - not under the guidelines adopted by the Labor Government in 1994. Changes to the entitlement outlined in the minute and made during the first term of the Chief Minister's Government were:

1. The ruling out of the normal requirement for officer contributions towards temporary accommodation costs.

2. The extension of payments of TAA up to periods of five years, contrary to the standards and the independent advice from Ernst and Young.

3. The increase in the rates of payment by 60 per cent and 41 per cent for senior officers.

Mr Speaker, will the Chief Minister now acknowledge that the TAA provisions enjoyed by the seven executives come from the actions of her administration, as evidenced by the minute she tabled?

MS CARNELL: No, I will not, Mr Speaker. It is my advice that the guidelines brought down in 1994 allowed for three years or as specially decreed by the commissioner or a chief executive. Mr Speaker, the 1994 Public Service management guidelines allowed for the commissioner to make a special ruling. And that is what she did.

MR STANHOPE: Can the Chief Minister explain why she insists on blaming her Public Service and the 1994 guidelines? Will she put an immediate end to these inappropriate payments?

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