Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3290 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
annual reports. Hopefully, the information that was lacking in the budget process will be available through these reports, which I believe are to be tabled today.
We oppose this motion from the government, believing that the standing committees have the specialised knowledge required to fully scrutinise annual reports.
MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Affairs, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (11.38): I speak in support of Mr Hargreaves' proposal. The argument presented by Mr Stefaniak and Ms Dundas may have been relevant when we had a standing committee structure which sought to mirror portfolio responsibilities. There may have been some merit in that. But we no longer have a standing committee structure that mirrors portfolio responsibilities. It is far more diverse, and standing committees frequently cover a number of portfolio responsibilities of ministers and departments. So I do not think it is the most effective way of achieving scrutiny.
The Labor Party has maintained for some time that the committee that examines the prospective expenditure through the estimates process should be the committee that examines what has occurred over the past year. It is a logical extension of the Estimates Committee process, and we believe it is the most appropriate in these circumstances.
Question resolved in the negative.
2001-02 annual reports-referral to standing committees
MR STEFANIAK (11.39): I move:
That notwithstanding the resolution of the Assembly of 11 December 2001 establishing standing committees:
(1) the annual and financial reports for the calendar year 2001 and the financial year 2001-2002 presented to the Assembly pursuant to the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 1995 stand referred to the standing committees, on presentation, in accordance with a schedule to be determined by the Speaker;
(2) committees inquire into and report on the annual reports by the first sitting day in 2003;
(3) notwithstanding standing order 229, only one standing committee may meet for the consideration of the inquiry into the calendar year 2001 and 2001-2002 annual and financial reports at any given period of time; and
(4) the foregoing provisions of this resolution have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders.
I have already said that this is the preferred method. I note Mr Corbell's point. I refer him to paragraph (3), which permits only one committee to operate at a time. That is logical. It will assist ministers, public servants and members who sit on more than one committee, especially Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas. That is a very sensible part of the motion. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
Question resolved in the affirmative.