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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3645 ..

MR WOOD: I was just about to say that. I might follow the example of the former government when there were very, very dry times. I will see what that does, because I do not think assistance was given. Circumstances in the ACT are getting pretty grim but they are not of the order that applies, even relatively closely, in New South Wales. Officers responsible for this keep in close touch with lessees, and if they were getting reports they would be provided through to me. I certainly have not seen any reports at this stage that tell me I should take further action. I am broadly sympathetic to the needs of all people in this community and will attend to them as best I can.

MRS DUNNE: My supplementary question is: how did the minister come to the conclusion that ACT farmers always have additional revenues from off-farm activities?

MR WOOD: The word I used was "generally".

Mr Stanhope: You're misrepresented again.

MR WOOD: Well, I would say here that, as I think most of us know, rural lessees in the ACT generally, not universally, have access to other resources, perhaps a job.

Community services-complaints

MS TUCKER: My question is addressed to the Chief Minister and concerns the upcoming review of complaints mechanisms for community services. As you are well aware, I have made representations on this matter on several occasions, most specifically on the need to consult with the sector on the terms of reference for the review and the need to have ACTCOSS and consumer representation on the selection panel to award the contract to conduct the review. In fact, I wrote to you on this matter on 10 October but have yet to receive a reply.

Since then, however, ACTCOSS organised a well-attended consultation forum, at your request. Bureaucrats who attended that forum advised participants that they would take their contributions on board, but, as they were answerable to the chief executives, they could not provide a definitive response. As I understand that the community representatives have not yet heard from you on this issue, can you confirm that draft terms of reference will be circulated to the people and organisations who attended the forum so that they can understand how their perspectives and suggestions will be reflected in this review?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Ms Tucker. Yes, the processes as outlined by you certainly have happened. There was a consultation, facilitated by ACTCOSS, with all stakeholders to discuss the proposed review and the terms of reference. I understand that it was a very successful consultation. Some very good responses, input and ideas were received. New terms of reference have been drafted or are in the process of being drafted as a result of that consultation. I have to say that I have not been advised on the process proposed in relation to further consultation on the draft terms of reference. But speaking for myself-and I imagine this would be the department's position-there is absolutely no issue with those being confirmed with the participants who appeared at the consultation and indeed any other stakeholder.

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