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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 50 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

But there will be some logistical issues. I can remember at one point in the last Assembly Mr Hird literally rushing from one committee to another. I know there was an issue today concerning the programming of when we will go to particular meetings. So we will obviously all have to respect the fact that Ms Dundas and I will be quite busy. That will have to be taken into account when we are arranging meetings of committees.

Having said that, I look forward to committee work again. I think committee work is one of the most constructive and consultative forums that we have in this Assembly. Committees undertake very important work of the Assembly. I hope that once again we will see very good reports coming out and that this government will take those reports seriously.

I have already mentioned to the Chief Minister and through the media that I am interested in seeing the Chief Minister require that agencies in their annual reports give an implementation status report on how government has responded in terms of recommendations of committees which they have agreed to. In other words, if government agrees to recommendations of committees, there should be an update in the agency's annual report of where they are up to. In this way we can keep that committee work on the agenda of this Assembly.

What often happens is that even very good reports-a lot of work is put into them by the community as well as members and secretariat staff-tend to fall off the agenda. In fact, I recall that on several occasions in the last Assembly I made the same recommendation twice-and once, three times-in the case of different committees. A recommendation had been made, we had conducted another inquiry and we saw that the need was still there for action from government in the same relevant area.

Hopefully I will get support from the Assembly or the Chief Minister for this requirement in respect of annual reports. This would be useful in helping us keep track of what is happening and how well the government is doing what it said it would do in terms of committees.


(12.14): I would like to indicate my support for this motion and also echo what Ms Tucker said. The proposal circulated by Mr Hargreaves has, at its core, a design for policy development. But I would like to remind the Assembly of the role committees have in accountability. We do not have a house of review, so committees, along with the Assembly, have an important job of ensuring accountability of the executive and the departments.

Another consideration, which Ms Tucker touched on, is the role that the government has in accepting or rejecting the recommendations of committees. I believe that these policy-based committees should have scope to research issues in the hope that their recommendations will not be ignored or put aside by the government and the departments. I hope that constant reminding by Ms Tucker and me will not be needed to ensure that recommendations are carried through.

We have a stringent process of bringing the community along to discuss these issues. If we go to all this time and effort, the community should feel that it is having a part to play in this Assembly and that the recommendations that are made by committees are not being ignored.

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