Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 February 2005) . . Page.. 397 ..
Mrs Dunne: Yes, I asked all of those questions.
MR SPEAKER: Do you want to provide an explanation, Mr Stanhope?
MR STANHOPE: I did. I said that I would seek advice on the answers.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.34): In accordance with standing order 118A (c), I move:
That the Assembly takes note of the explanation.
Mr Speaker, it might sound quibbling to complain about answers to questions which are four or five days overdue, but I need to put on the record that the ministers opposite are not very responsible in answering questions. Questions 50 and 51 are about important issues that go to one of the major policy issues for which this minister is responsible.
Question No 50 relates to whether there has been a risk assessment done on higher than planned peak flood levels, identified as a risk with more frequent storm events, and I have asked whether there has been a management plan to upgrade dams to withstand reported climate change events. That is a matter which goes right to the heart of water supply in this polity and which is supposed to be one of the principal issues for which this minister is responsible as Minister for Environment. There is a related question about water security and climate change, and these questions remain unanswered.
The matter goes to this minister’s capacity to meet his responsibilities as the Minister for Environment. He is completely at sea when it comes to water issues. He is incapable of answering a question without prompts and he knows very little about the subject matter. That is identified by the fact that he would allow a situation to arise within his department whereby an answer to a question is 38 days overdue.
We all had holidays, Mr Speaker, but I was here when those answers were due and I cannot do anything about the things that I have raised because the minister will not answer those questions. This is a sorry indictment of the Minister for Environment.
MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.36): Mr Speaker, I will oppose this motion on one simple ground. The Chief Minister responded to Mrs Dunne by saying that he will seek advice on the reason for the delay. To proceed in this way before such advice had been provided to Mrs Dunne would be precipitous to the nth degree. I think that we should just dispense with this motion with the contempt that its due and that Mrs Dunne should be urged to wait until the minister actually responds to her with a reason for the delay.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.37), in reply: Mr Speaker, the standing orders actually allow for me to do what I have done without notice. The notice paper says that these questions are outstanding and that they have been outstanding since 8 January. Any minister worth his salt or any staff members worth their salt in the minister’s office would have been out this morning saying, “Why has Mrs Dunne’s question not been answered?” When I was a staffer, that was the sort of thing that went on in an office,