Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 3302 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
bodies in the ACT, and I applaud the government for that. Hopefully, it will lead to some clear recommendations regarding how to change cultures so that complaints are received as information rather than something to be fended off and, if possible, suppressed.
We need to remember with regard to this body of work and this consultation that it has been working with people who, quite often, are disadvantaged and vulnerable, who are in need of improved services and who are cynical about government processes. There have many inquiries over the last eight years I have been here in which we have been consulting with the same groups of people about how we can improve services and there is already a degree of cynicism and review fatigue, if you like.
It is particularly important that this process continues to be good. If there are problems with the services available, they need to be fixed. We need to look at what comes out of this report. It needs to be open so that everyone who has participated in the process feels that they have access to what came out of that consultation. That is recognised as fundamental to good consultation.
I refer members to the previous government's consultation protocol, which was a good document. I think that basically this government has accepted its principles. The document makes the point on page 11 that commitment is needed by all parties to complete the consultation before any announcement or decision is made, as this ensures credibility of the consultation process, and that the results of consultation need to be made available to all participants.
The document goes into much more detail about the importance of feedback, the loop, being there and the process being transparent. In fact, the first inquiry I chaired in this place, in 1995, looked at community consultation and a lot of the recommendations of that committee translated into this consultation protocol. I think that it is a good document and I do not think that people are challenging the principles outlined in it.
For that reason, I think it is important that the report produced by the consultant is made available to the people who were participating. In a way, it is unfortunate that the situation has reached this level. If the task force had said originally that it would be made available to anyone who wanted to see it, there would not have been any drama, but, as it turned out, a decision was taken by the task force and then by the government not to release it and now it has been sent back to the task force to make the decision. During that process, a number of people-consumers and task force members-became very upset, which is why I put this motion today. I am pleased to know that the government will be supporting it.
MS DUNDAS (5.34): I strongly support this motion as moved by Ms Tucker today. In July 2002, when the composition of the ACT alcohol and other drugs task force was announced, I did praise its composition. I believed that the people appointed were broadly representative of the community services sector and promised to bring substantial expertise and credibility to the task of preparing the ACT alcohol and other drugs strategy.
Whereas in other Australian states drugs task forces have been stacked with people representing a zero tolerance position, the ACT task force represented a broad range of views and approaches to reducing problem drinking and drug use. That made me very