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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 839 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Assistance will not be available where the matter arises out of unreasonable conduct or bad faith on the part of the member or minister.

The government considers that judicial review of decisions about legal assistance to ministers and members of the Legislative Assembly is not in the public interest. However, the bill provides for an open and accountable process by requiring that an applicant for assistance be given a written statement of the decision on the application, the reasons for the decision and which ministers were consulted in the decision-making process. That statement must also be tabled in the Assembly within six sitting days. In this way the Assembly will be able to monitor the operation of the scheme.

The bill provides for flexibility in the delivery of legal assistance. The Attorney-General will decide the way in which assistance is to be provided. This may include payment for legal representation or advice from the Government Solicitor. There is also provision for the territory to be reimbursed, completely or partially, out of awards of costs or damages in favour of the person who received the assistance.

This bill will give the ACT clear and open legislative framework for the provision of legal assistance to ministers and members of the Assembly. While the need for such assistance is rare, it is all the more important that the rules for providing it are clear and known to all. This bill, together with the guidelines for decision-making which will be contained in the regulations, achieves that objective.

I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Planning and Urban Services-Standing Committee

Report No 67

MR HIRD (11.19): Mr Speaker, as chairman of the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Services, I present the following report:

Planning and Urban Services-Standing Committee-Report No 67-Proposals for the Gungahlin Drive Extension (John Dedman Parkway), dated 28 February 2001, including a dissenting report, together with a copy of the extracts of the minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker, this inquiry into proposals for the construction of the Gungahlin Drive extension and into a number of associated issues has undoubtedly been the most arduous task undertaken by the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Services, which I chair, but it was also probably the most interesting and challenging. As well as enabling the committee to look at the specific issues of the Gungahlin Drive extension, the inquiry enabled us to look at broader transport planning issues that will impact on the whole of the territory.

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