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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4102 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

always leave some people dissatisfied. They always leave a sense that there are some within the community for whom that traditional method of consultation is not convenient. That is how all organisations and all governments have traditionally consulted-we know that. It is a flawed system. We know this through the Legislative Assembly committee system-how flawed the response is to particular inquiries, in quantity and quality of submissions and witnesses prepared to appear. It is something we need to continue to work at.

My colleague, Simon Corbell, has made significant moves to enhance the capacity of young people in this community to be heard. It is an issue that we, the government, take seriously and which Simon Corbell, as minister with responsibility for youth, has pursued assiduously. Without breaching any vital notions of cabinet confidentiality, Mr Corbell constantly raises with his cabinet colleagues the need-even around issues being considered by cabinet-for young people to be consulted. It is something we are mindful of and an issue we are vigorously pursuing.

Electorate offices-trial

MR HUMPHRIES: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, you recently wrote to members, inviting them to take part in a trial of what you called electorate offices in each of the ACT's three electorates. The trial involves members spending two hours per month in each of these electorate offices. Can you tell us if your ministers will be participating in this scheme?

MR STANHOPE: I would hope so, Mr Humphries. The letter goes on to invite responses to a format-or a method of enhancing our capacity to consult with our constituents. This is something I have long felt is important-that we have the capacity to meet our constituents in our electorates. You could conjure up a whole range of formulas for seeking to achieve that, but we have put a mean, lean and minimal cost model on the table. I will be vitally interested in the responses I receive from members.

I certainly intend to participate. My ministers will respond for themselves, just as each member of this place will respond for himself or herself. As far as I am concerned, it is a very good start. I look for some innovative responses from all members of the Assembly.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Chief Minister, if your ministers are going to the trouble of travelling to these electorate offices once each month, will they go to the trouble of going to electorate offices in electorates other than their own?

MR STANHOPE: As I say, I am looking for responses, which are invited from members. It needs to be kept in mind that this is essentially around allowing members to meet with those constituents who elect them. It is a first for us, and something we have not done since self-government began. It is a good first move towards getting members of the Assembly out of this place and into their electorates.

Of course, as you are aware, my cabinet now meets once every six or eight weeks around the ACT. Just last week, we held a second, very successful community cabinet in Dickson. We will be meeting in Belconnen as a cabinet in early February, and in Weston

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