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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2411 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Debate was also conducted in the committee about the political importance of waiting lists and waiting times as an indicator, or measure, of the shape of the health system. The minister agreed that, whilst waiting lists are an important measure, there are other legitimate measures that might be used, and that perhaps there had been undue focus on waiting lists and waiting times. That is an issue to which the Assembly, I am sure, will be returning in the very near future.

Let me close by saying that I believe this exercise of producing 65 recommendations has been a useful one. It has confirmed that there is value to be obtained by focusing on measures that will improve the quality of reporting to the Assembly and the community, I urge the government to take on board the recommendations made about reporting, and use this exercise as one that will allow for better budget papers to come forward next year. I like to think that, as each year goes past, we do produce better budget papers.

Perhaps this year there has been a slight falling backwards, because of the creation of a new department at the very death knell of the budget process, and so many performance indicators were changing in a short space of time. We do need to get this system right. It is important for members of this place, and for the community, to be able to compare year-in, year-out, the effectiveness of public expenditure in those areas. I believe this report will assist in that process.

Mr Speaker, I want to thank the other members of the committee for their cooperation. It was a very long and involved exercise in determining the appropriate process. I want to thank the various people who acted as both secretary and assistant secretary to the committee-especially Patrick McCormack and the other members who are mentioned on the inside front cover of the report. I commend the report to the house.

MR HARGREAVES (11.06): I think this is a positive report. It suggests some directions for the government to consider when looking into its programs for the next three years-and some of the outyears. It brings to the government's attention how some members of the public, and some other members of the Assembly, feel about the government's priorities and the way in which it addresses those priorities.

I want to go through some of the recommendations and expand on them a little. I make the point that, whilst this report has the signature of all five members on it, I do not think it can be regarded as a totally unanimous report.

Having said that, I would like to commend other members of the committee on their approaches to their differing views. We do not have a dissenting report, which seems to be a hallmark of previous estimates committees. Indeed, I think the positive way in which the members felt as though they could compromise on wording is to their credit.

Also, the way we were able to address differences of opinion within the text of the report was a positive move forward. I would like to see that adopted as a bit of a standard for future estimates reports. I quote, for example, something the chairman has just indicated to the house. He referred to the comments made by the Catholic Education Commission about education funding. He indicated that two members felt that X was the case. Therefore, we could add up that three members felt differently.

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