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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2803 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

we get down to looking at the issues-stripping away the partisan approaches and looking at the issues fair and square without all the falderal; getting in touch with the people. But in this place there are insufficient resources to do this, and I am concerned at the level of budgeting for the Legislative Assembly Secretariat.

I will take the example of my own committee, the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment. It is strapped for resources and has its timetable loaded down, many times with doing the government's bidding. As you have seen in the last little while, this committee has brought down four reports on draft variations, and it has another four, off the top of my head, that have to be resolved. All of these are complex and we know that in the pipeline there are many more draft variations to come before our committee, and that is essentially doing the bidding of the government.

There is no opportunity, given the time and the resources of this place, to look at other issues. It is difficult for the committee to find the resources to look at the reference given to it by this place on sustainable energy or the review of the Planning and Land Bill. We have had no opportunity, and look unlikely to have any opportunity, to ever look at transport issues and sustainability because all we do is draft variations, which is the bidding of this government. This does not allow for an open discussion of issues that vitally affect the people of the ACT.

There is no scope for openness in this place. And when we're talking about openness and we look at the budget papers, which were a shambles in themselves-we had three versions, and when we finally got the last version the page numbering was all over the place-what do we see? The output measures are being slowly whittled away-well, actually they are not being slowly whittled away; they are actually being decimated by this government, so that there is a decreasing number of meaningful output measures.

What do we find in response to a straightforward and considered recommendation of the committee that we have meaningful performance measures that allow for comparison over time, which are consistent and take account of the triple bottom line? Well, we have nearly three-quarters of a page in response from the minister, from the government, to the Estimates Committee report that boils down to "No, we're not going to do it". And, of course, with everything with this government, they cannot be straightforward and say no; they have to hedge it about, for paragraph after paragraph, with weasel words that maybe give you the impression that they might be saying something, but when you analyse it, it amounts to a big, fat no.

Again, this is a government that is afraid to be open, afraid to address the electors, and afraid to address the people of Canberra and tell them what it is doing. The same can be said when we made a submission about cost/benefit analysis. What did it say? It said, "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 the government." But what does that say? Well, it is probably saying no, but we can't really tell. And the question that I ask is: will the cost/benefit analysis that you were proposing to do through the major projects analysis section touch on Mr Corbell's ill-conceived plan to socialise land development in this town?

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