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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3737 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

This is an important issue. There has been a lot of talk in this Assembly about open and transparent accounting and accountability, and a closed system would play a not insignificant role in ensuring that happens. We will have to continue to press for this outcome if there is to be any form of integrity in reporting on our capital works.

Let me say that since my days as Jim Hacker I have learned a little about how things work around here. I think the next time around, one way or another, whichever side of the house I am on, I may be able to get closer to the system that will in fact ensure there is honest and earnest reporting to the Assembly and to the people of the ACT. I commend this report to the Assembly and to the next Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Public accounts committee report No 28

MR QUINLAN (11.20): I present the following report:

Finance and Public Administration-Standing Committee (incorporating the Public Accounts Committee)-Public Accounts Committee Report No 28-Public Access to Government Contracts Act 2000, dated 27 August 2001, together with a copy of the extracts of the minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

When tabling the previous report I referred to the problems that we have seen with reporting, control and documentation. Some remedial action, incorporating a process of the registration of and access to government contracts, and the recording of claims of commercial-in-confidence or confidentiality clauses, has been taken. There has been an attempt to clarify how that process would work.

Again, I think there is still some work to be done on this. One of the most important elements of the process is the willingness of the various agencies within the administration to conform with the spirit of what has been put in place. Again, I have to say that there is a little bit of disappointment in as much as some agencies appear to have been less willing than others to conform with the requirement set out in the reforms. Of course, if the system is incomplete then it will be next to useless.

The report contains some recommendations and those recommendations need to be followed through. Again, what we need to do is create a system under which people and agencies cannot avoid compliance. As with most administrative processes, this system needs an overlay of internal control to ensure compliance and adherence. We just cannot rely on people remembering to do what they are required to do. There is further work to do. I again commend to this Assembly and the next Assembly the recommendations and the observations in the report.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (11.23): Mr Speaker, I want to take the opportunity to make a quick comment about this legislation, which originated from a combination of bills that Mr Osborne and I-

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