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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1041 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

starting to challenge the concept that markets are perfect and that competition is the only basis upon which to make commercial decisions.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts

Motion of censure

MS TUCKER (3.52): I move:

That in respect to the decision of the Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation (CTEC) to relocate to Brindabella Park Commercial Centre at Canberra Airport the Assembly:

(1) censures the Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts for his refusal to obey an order of the Legislative Assembly, being to provide documents to the Clerk of the Assembly for inspection by Members;

(2) expresses concern regarding:

  1. access for clients and staff of the Corporation;
  2. support for commercial development in a location which is contrary to the principles of the Territory Plan;
  3. the possible failure of the Corporation's Board to comply clearly with the requirements of clause 15 of the Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation Act 1997 "Disclosure of Interest";

(3) draws the attention of the ACT Auditor General to these concerns, and asks him to conduct a performance audit of this decision of the Corporation.

This motion has come about because Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation decided to move its office to Brindabella Park at the airport and the reasons for this move have not been satisfactorily explained by government or CTEC. The move is concerning for a number of reasons. Many of us were very surprised to see this move because of the fact that there is no public transport to the new location, and this is obviously an issue for staff of CTEC as well as for the clients of CTEC.

It was also quite bizarre for the government to be supporting the move of one of its own corporations into a commercial development which basically contradicts the spirit of the Territory Plan. The other interesting factor which came up as we looked at this matter was the perception that there were close ties between the airport and CTEC, and there could be a conflict of interest which needed to be declared under the legislation.

To understand better the reasons for this move by CTEC, I was supported by a majority of members to order that all papers related to the decision should be made available to members in this Clerk's office. The first part of my motion calls on the Assembly to censure the minister because of his response to that order. I will quote from Odgers' Australian Senate Practice and from House of Representatives Practice on the issue of orders for the production of papers. Odgers' Australian Senate Practice, at chapter 18 which relates to documents, concludes after its analysis:

These precedents demonstrate that orders for production of documents are amongst the most significant procedures available to the Senate to deal with matters of public interest giving rise to questions of ministerial accountability.

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