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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4078 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

authority for the period from 1 July 2002 up until its cessation date, which will now be 31 December 2002, and to comply with Health's monthly reporting arrangements.

I thank the scrutiny of bills committee for its report and note the comment it makes regarding the so-called Henry VIII clause giving the executive some particular powers regarding some of the consequential amendments to the bill. However, like the scrutiny committee, I note that this clause applies only to the transitional arrangements in part 8 of the legislation. It does not apply to the substantive provisions of the act. A clause such as this is common in legislation where a transitional arrangement is necessary.

A provision such as this was included in the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act and it has already been necessary to use it to make a regulation to maintain the previous legislative provisions with respect to costs where an action has already commenced. This is just an example of how we cannot necessarily anticipate every consequence of the piece of legislation in the transitional period, and the regulation-making power enables us to quickly correct the problem. In addition, the clause itself has a sunset provision and it expires 12 months after the time this bill becomes law. Finally, there's a further protection, which is that any regulations made by the executive under this provision must be tabled in the Assembly and are disallowable.

This bill formally implements the recommendations of the Reid review, which was specifically tasked with a full analysis and review of the governance arrangements in health, recognising that there were issues that we needed to confront. The outcomes of that particular review by Mr Reid indicate that the role which we are pursuing through this legislation is appropriate to the circumstances of the ACT at this time, as we endeavour to ensure that we have the capacity to deliver the best possible health services to the people of the ACT.

Before concluding, I will respond to just one of the points made by Mr Smyth in his remarks on the legislation. I refer to his remarks about how a move away from purchaser/provider is a signal to the public service to go beserk in terms of featherbedding and the creation of provisions for fat cats, as Mr Smyth describes it. I think Mr Smyth's comments in relation to the additional provisions that have been created within the department of health really do illustrate his lack of support for the public service, and a lack of understanding of how thin our public service is. It strikes me as remarkable that somebody who just over a year ago was a minister in the ACT government could for one minute think that there's any fat within the ACT public service. If Mr Smyth's CEOs and senior public servants did not tell him time and time again just how thin the senior levels within the ACT public service are, and the extent to which that compromises the delivery of the range of policy advice which ministers and governments look for, then I'll go she.

I would be surprised if that is not the experience of every single minister in the previous government, because it certainly is the experience of every minister in this government that we do run a tight, fine ship. To suggest that there are fat cats within the ACT public service, and that there is featherbedding at the senior levels particularly within the ACT public service, despite Mr Smyth's attempts at pretending that this wasn't a personal attack on public servants, is precisely that. It is a continuation of a consistent theme of the Liberal Party in this place-that they don't like public servants, they don't like the

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