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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 488 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Paragraph (2) sets out how we would like this process to start. It is proposed that the process will be triggered by the current government giving a response to a committee report. The motion requests that this process begin with any committee reports of the Fourth Assembly-the previous Assembly-to which the government has responded. Clearly this assumes that there will be at least some responses to committee work of the previous Assembly by this government.

I understand that the government has undertaken to respond, for instance, to the report on the inquiry into the role of public housing. A number of reports tabled late in the previous Assembly have had no government response yet. I have mentioned to Mr Wood-and I put this on the record-that I would like to see the Labor government's response to a couple of major inquiries. One such report relates to the inquiry into children at risk. Another is the inquiry into students at risk of not completing education. As well, there was a major report on the education of children with disabilities, and it is important that we see what this government says to that. The Aboriginal health inquiry chaired by Mr Wood resulted in obviously another very important committee report from the last Assembly. They are four that I would mention right now.

Mr Wood: It's a long list.

MS TUCKER: Mr Wood says that it is a long list. There may be others. But the point is that this would be determined by this Assembly. The government could today, or on another occasion, volunteer to say, "Yes, we think it's appropriate that the community understands our government's position on this committee work." That is obviously something that this government could do. Alternatively, I or another member could raise this in the Assembly and ask the government to respond to a particular committee report. Obviously, it would be up to the will of the Assembly to determine whether it felt the government should do that. The government could respond to the position put to the Assembly. As always, it would be just a request and they would respond accordingly. They hopefully would take such a request seriously.

I just want to make it clear that the purpose of this motion is not to tie this government into a totally open position of responding to everything that happened in the last Assembly and then including a progress report on that in every annual report. There can be discussion. I hope that we will get support today for this aspect of my motion. Although I understand there is some reluctance on the part of the government to do so, maybe my explanation will put their minds at ease.

Paragraph (2) also states that, after the first annual report-which may, depending on the committee report, involve a review of a year or two's work-the future schedules will include only updates. We are not asking the government agencies to cover the same ground every year.

Paragraph (3) proposes that this motion commence at the start of the current Assembly and continue in force beyond the life of this Assembly, unless, of course, it or the underlying legislation are amended in the future. Again, we are mindful of the importance of committee work and the need for a careful review to be carried on beyond one particular Assembly.

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