Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2422 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
The chairman has talked about land servicing, and I must reinforce that. So far, we have no business plan for a highly ambitious proposal to undertake land servicing. The officers, who spoke at both the estimates hearings and private briefings that I have received, assured me that the expectations of this are conservative and that they are confident.
Although I have confidence in them as members, I am not entirely enthusiastic about what they said. I thought they were more enthusiastic about the prospect of getting their hands on land to service than being entirely rigorous. I am not confident. The reason I am not confident is that the ACT has a very bad history of running businesses. We have Harcourt Hill which, over many years, has cost the territory dearly-probably in excess of $20 million-the hotel school and the Williamsdale Quarry. Despite extensive external assessment of the business plan, that turned out to be a dismal failure. We do not have a good record on this.
On this cautionary note, I commend the report of the committee. I hope to see many recommendations being supported and acted upon by the government in the very near future.
MS GALLAGHER (11.49): Mr Speaker, I would like to make a few comments in relation to the Select Committee on Estimates report, in addition to those made by Mr Hargreaves.
As a relatively new member of this Assembly, going through the estimates process, whilst sometimes frustrating, was certainly an educational one. After 10 days of hearings and 15 or so hours of deliberations, I certainly know a great deal more about the ACT government departments than I knew before-who does what, how much it costs-and always that everyone needs more money.
I would like to acknowledge the contributions, by submissions and appearances, of members and organisations from the ACT community. The contribution by these groups, in informing the committee on exactly what this budget means to them or their organisations, is critical in assisting members of the committee to understand what impacts the proposed budget will have on themselves and their constituencies.
I support the recommendation made in the report which encourages future committees to engage community groups earlier in the hearings in the estimates process than we did. I would also like other members to acknowledge the work of the committee office-on behalf of John Hargreaves and myself.
Whilst all secretaries participated in the process, the primary secretary, Mr Patrick McCormack, provided the select committee with excellent support. He also spent much time at work this past weekend, typing and doing the final corrections on the report so it was ready for tabling in the Assembly. Thank you, Patrick.
I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of other committee members. There were times when discussions and questions became heated and political, but the major part of the committee's time was not like that. I know that, in past estimates committees, there have been comments made about the lack of participation of some members, and