Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2005) . . Page.. 2331 ..
I am pleased that this will take place, but perhaps we need to recognise that, to do this properly, we will have to allocate some resources to it. In the context of a tight budget, some might see this as a lesser priority, but in the long run it will reduce our yearly expenditure as well as reduce our environmental impacts.
A key part of an environmental management system, as opposed to isolated initiatives, is that an environmental management system builds in a mechanism to quantify actual resources used, savings made and the cost benefits. This is an issue that I hope we can progress over the next year.
MR PRATT (Brindabella) (11.36): Mr Speaker, the total cost appropriated to the Legislative Assembly Secretariat for 2005-06 is $10.299 million. That includes a capital injection of $800,000 which is for building improvements, security upgrades and an upgrade to the public entrance, $200,000 for new capital works and $600,000 for works in progress. The problem is that we do not yet see any evidence that the works in upgrading the public entrance and security upgrades are actually in progress. The May 2006 completion date, as stated in budget paper 4, page 3, for this work has not been guaranteed either.
Mr Speaker, you gave little confidence to this completion date being achieved when you said in the estimates hearings that there were some interesting management issues to tackle if this completion date was to be achieved. These upgrades are important work that needs to be completed as soon as possible to ensure both the safety and amenity of those who work here and the members of the public who visit the building.
During estimates hearings we heard that some of these upgrades have been delayed, for various reasons. I am concerned that the security upgrade, in particular, should have been completed by now. I understand that a security review of earlier designs meant that the previous plans for an upgrade to the Assembly entrance were no longer adequate and so had to be redesigned. However, it is some years since the original designs were meant to be implemented. I hope we do not see more delays, as the security of this building does need to be addressed urgently.
Mr Speaker, again referring back to the estimates, you said that you had a number of bids in the 2005-06 budget which were unsuccessful in terms of the building’s improvements, given that the Assembly is such an old building. But you then justified the lack of success in achieving the desired funding by arguing that you understood that it was a time for constraint, given that it was such a tight budget year, and that other departments would surely be subject to the same constraints.
I do refer to the Auditor-General’s report that discusses the matter of priority for upgrades in the Assembly, which my colleague Mr Mulcahy has already spoken to. That that report should be ignored in the pursuit of such tight constraints is peculiar and disappointing. However, it does appear that there has been little such constraint shown in other portfolio areas, such as the allocation of $12 million for the Chief Minister’s pet arboretum project and $6.7 million for the transport minister’s real-time information system for buses.