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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3739 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

health. I have to say that, in my view, this process played a role in his moving on. I hope that he moves on to bigger and better things. I know that it was a particularly difficult situation and a difficult time for him. I would like to add, as I said at the time, that this is one of the best officers that I have worked with in the department of health, both before I was a minister and while I was a minister.

I am very pleased to see that not only the Auditor-General but now the committee has indicated that that officer acted appropriately and that-

Mr Quinlan: With the qualification on documentation.

MR MOORE: With that rather small qualification in terms of the department in general. I have to say that I am somewhat saddened that somebody had to go through that kind of process, with the sorts of accusations and things that appeared in the media at that time, because I know that at that time the officer was not only a very effective public servant but certainly a caring and wonderful person. I would like to ensure that that is on the record.

MR HARGREAVES (11.28): Mr Speaker, I rise to speak very briefly to this report. I spent 19 of my 29 public service years in what is now the Department of Health, Housing and Community Care. I worked in the areas of contract administration and the provision of management and consultancy services. I was involved predominantly in the provision of services to the customer-the actual real-time stuff. I know that the officers of the department with whom I worked have incredible integrity and an incredible need to do things the right way. I know that they sometimes err on the side of caution, and for that I think we should congratulate them.

Every now and again, however, there are perceptions. These perceptions need to be put to rest, and I think that has been done in this report. However, the report sets out a couple of flaws in the process. The only constant thing about the department of health when I worked there was the rate of change, and that has not changed. If I may digress for a second, Mr Speaker, I recall at one stage we said that a transit lounge was the only room in the whole of the department of health that had revolving doors. People used to go in and out of it with monotonous regularity. I went into it three times and came out the other side.

Part of the problem, of course, with such a rate of change is the turnover in staff. Whilst the staff in this department are very dedicated people, sometimes the procedures are not passed on properly from one person to another. So we are talking about a systemic hassle. I can recall that every year I was given folders that contained a different set of contract conditions and so on, but you learn to live with this sort of thing.

I think the committee is pointing out in its report that we need to have a set of instructions which are constantly kept up to date. I know that this is a very difficult thing to do in a system which is subject to constant change. I sympathise and empathise with the people who are involved in that process. I was pleased to see the minister talk about that sort of thing and it would be nice if he left behind an imprimatur for people to adopt that kind of mindset.

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