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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2793 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

The committee recommended that it should be standard government practice to undertake a rigorous and independent cost/benefit analysis for significant projects. Arrangements for this are already under way. The Department of Treasury is already developing a standard process for preparing financial and economic analyses of major projects. A major project analysis section has been created in Treasury to work with agencies to improve the quality of financial and economic information provided to government.

The committee also recommended that the government advertise the existence of its insurance premium hotline until public awareness is of a satisfactory level. The response tabled today provides the Assembly with details of what is already in motion.

Let me first advise that I am aware of the limitations of the "public notice" style advertising as a sole means of communication. It may afford the opportunity to make claims of notifying the general public, but there is no certainty of widespread dissemination of the particular message.

We constructively set about targeting the most affected parties. We conducted a number of seminars and meetings with community organisations and umbrella community groups. At these the availability of the hotline was advised. Additionally the hotline has been widely advertised in the Canberra Times in July and August, in the Valley Voice and in the Chronicle.

There are 13 recommendations to which the government does not agree. I will not respond to these in detail in the tabling statement. They are outlined in the response. I would, however, like to take this opportunity to touch on one of the committee's recommendations.

The committee recommended that workplace managers must seek full involvement of workplace employees in the first instance for negotiation of workplace general agreements and guarantee that while workers will have the option to appoint any union to represent their negotiations they are not bound to union representation if they desire to represent themselves.

The government recognises the importance of employees being involved in, and consulted about, the development of certified agreements. The agreement must be approved by a majority of employees before the Australian Industrial Relations Commission can certify the agreement. However, under the Workplace Relations Act, certified agreements in the ACT public sector may take the form of either an agreement with relevant unions (under section 170LJ) or an agreement with employees (under section 170LK).

The government's preference is for agreements with unions, and it is with this model that we have started discussions with the unions.

Mr Speaker, in general the recommendations raised by the committee do not raise any serious issues in relation to the 2002-03 budget. In particular, no issue would prevent the passing of the Appropriation Bill.

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