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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2181 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: I think the government said on 3 May it wasn't going to release them. I think the position of the government is quite clear. We indicated publicly that we intended to comply with what the Auditor had suggested. I am not sure what sort of conflict Mr Hargreaves is trying to construct over this. Our position is quite clear. We believe that the Auditor's recommendations are correct; we should have early release. Mr Speaker, wasn't it last night that we passed legislation to facilitate that?

Mr Stanhope: And you backed down.

MR HUMPHRIES: I see. It is the inconsistency. Backdowns are on.

Mr Moore: If we do what the Auditor-General says, it is a backdown.

MR HUMPHRIES: That is right. It is the usual line. If we accept what the Auditor says, it is a backdown.

Mr Stanhope: Look at the Hansard of 3 May. When did you resile from that?

MR SPEAKER: You be quiet.

MR HUMPHRIES: The Auditor recommended recently that the Assembly should, instead of having monthly reporting on the financial position of the territory, report every four months. We put that forward in a bill yesterday, and the Assembly decided no, it ought to be every three months. If you like, we backed down from what the Auditor had said. But the reality is that we engaged in discussion about that matter and decided to change our position. If that is such a terrible thing, Mr Speaker, I plead guilty.

Family Services-court unit

MR RUGENDYKE: My question, through you, Mr Speaker, is to the community services minister, Mr Moore. Minister, I have received information that the court unit of Family Services is losing experienced personnel and that in the near future it will be left with two people and will be run by a social worker. Can the minister confirm that this is the case? What steps are being taken to ensure that appropriate briefs are being presented to court on behalf of children in care?

MR MOORE: Mr Rugendyke, I do know there is some change in staffing. I have had a brief on it; I don't remember the exact reason. Therefore, I will take the question on notice and come back to you with an exact explanation.

MR RUGENDYKE: My supplementary is: does the department meet the requirement of representing the best interests of the child, particularly given that specialist resources and expertise are at such a low level in the court unit?

MR MOORE: I know that the department of community care and family services work extraordinarily hard to make sure they do meet best practice. There have been a number of changes of staff recently in that area and I am looking forward to a constantly improving service. That is what we are hoping to achieve. I will be very specific about answering your question as part of the question I take on notice.

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