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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4152 ..

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (5.40): I echo what my colleague Mr Humphries is saying about concerns raised by the committee. Nobody can have any objection to the notion that a committee would look at these things. But at the same time we seek to ensure the best possible people on the board of the Kingston Foreshore Development Authority. That is fundamental. Just a few minutes ago we looked at a situation where we did not get the outcomes we had hoped for from CanDeliver. This is no reflection on the people who were there, but it does emphasise how important it is to get the right people. When we are talking about the level of financial commitment and the level of commitment involved in CanDeliver, then there is a very big difference between that and the Kingston Foreshore Development Authority.

I can understand that members of a committee are keen to see this and ought to be able to. Members of the Assembly should always be able to see these things. What we have to find, though, is an appropriate way to ensure that members can see them, but that the people who are going to be prepared to go on this sort of authority to do the work do not feel exposed. That is a fundamental. Anybody going to work for the ACT Government would look with trepidation, considering what has happened in many ways over the last year or so with a fairly relaxed attitude to words like "scam" and "corruption" being thrown around. That will make people feel some trepidation. What we need to do in the legislation - what Mr Humphries' foreshadowed amendment is doing - is say, "Okay, it is fine that members of the Assembly are aware of it, and so it should be, but we need to ensure that privacy and normal business rights are protected".

This is not unusual. We must remember that shareholders demand of the major companies, of their board members, that they disclose possible conflicts of interest. The sort of judgment that needs to be made by the Assembly here is the same sort of judgment made regularly by shareholders.

I would also like to comment on statutory appointments. The reference to the committee that Mr Quinlan put in here is fairly standard. I am surprised it is not just done in the normal processes, because these are statutory appointments and would be covered in the normal way by statutory appointments legislation. No government in Australia is more open than this Government with statutory appointments, even with appointments we are not required to present to members of the Assembly. It is something we should proceed with. On the one hand I understand Mr Quinlan's amendments; on the other hand, I think the appropriate privacy protection will be put in place with the correcting amendment by Mr Humphries.

MR QUINLAN (5.44): I am not talking for all that long, Mr Speaker. I had initially spoken very briefly because I had had discussions with the Treasurer on this and I thought we had pretty well agreed with what was going through. I am a bit surprised that we have now turned it into some form of debate and challenge. I think Mr Moore brought up the question of the appointment of the best possible people. It was me who moved for reference of appointments to TOCs to come before the committee. I had a spontaneous and, I am sure, purely coincidental series of phone calls from the usual suspects, I guess you would call them - those who tend to populate more than one or two boards in the ACT - that this would be the end of the whole process as we know it.

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