Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4146 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
(b) 1 of those persons must have tertiary qualifications, and expertise, in urban planning and design; and
(c) 1 of those persons must have tertiary qualifications, and expertise, in environment protection.".
I am concerned that this Bill does not specify who should be on the board of the authority. It just says that the board comprises eight members, six persons appointed by the Minister, the chief executive officer and a public servant. By contrast, the Gungahlin Development Authority has a board of 12 members. Two are Gungahlin residents, one of whom is nominated by the Gungahlin Community Council. There are also persons with expertise in the property development industry, the retail trade industry, the finance industry, urban planning and environment protection, provision of community facilities and management. There are also two executive public servants and a CEO. There is quite a difference between two authorities which have very similar functions.
I can understand that the Government may want more flexibility in whom it appoints to the board. But it worries me that the Government, in line with its economic rationalist mentality, will just appoint business people and accountants because it believes that only these types of people can effectively run organisations. To balance this business focus there does need to be a requirement for people representing other interests to be on the board, ensuring a balanced and socially-minded focus.
As an aside, I would like to comment on the Government's process of establishing this authority. On Tuesday we had Mr Humphries talking in the Assembly about how difficult it is for the Government to release its proposed regulations for a Bill - in this case, the Emergency Management Bill - before the Bill is debated in the Assembly, because they do not know if the Bill or any amendments will get up.
Yet here, with the Kingston Foreshore Development Authority, we have the Chief Minister announcing in a media release on 22 November - four days before the Bill was even tabled in the Assembly - that the Government had chosen the authority members. So much for waiting for the Assembly to pass the legislation. I am not familiar with all the names on the list, but by the look of it we have at least one accountant, an auditor and a tourism person already appointed. That does not look balanced yet. I have therefore put up this amendment which specifies that the board should include a resident of south Canberra, to represent the interests of residents in the Kingston area, an expert in urban planning and design, and an expert in environment protection.
I would regard this appointment as a minimum requirement in terms of getting a good balance of interest and expertise on the authority as I have not gone to the extent of specifying every position in the Gungahlin Development Authority legislation. The functions of the authority as listed in the Bill include to consult with the residents of Kingston and the Territory, to exhibit a sense of social responsibility and to comply with the principles of ecologically sustainable development.
Unless people with key roles within the authority have a commitment to the broad functions of the authority and not just its commercial objectives, these broader functions will be overlooked. It is pointless having all the right objectives for the authority if its managers do not understand what they mean or have the expertise to know how to