Page 4 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2006

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As members can see, those recommendations and the report basically are straightforward. The report lists all those who appeared before the committee and its recommendations are administrative. The committee specifically noted that the transmittal certificate—and I am trying to recall off the top of my head which department was involved—refers to the wrong section of the Chief Minister’s directions on annual and financial reports. That error should have been picked up by anyone going through the report and checking it.

In the main it was reasonably smoothly run. I thank the committee secretary, Ms Eleanor Eggerking, for her assistance with the report. This was her first, and possibly last, committee report because she will be leaving us in the next few months. I thank my colleagues Ms Porter and Mrs Burke for their assistance last week in getting through this report fairly quickly. I also thank all ministers and their officials for attending and for their cooperation. I commend the report.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (10.43): I concur with many of the comments made by the committee chair, Ms MacDonald, and I thank her. I think we have a fairly good committee that ticks along very well. Committee members were under a bit of pressure to get this report through. The committee secretariat does a tremendous job in the preparation of these reports that we so glibly pass through the Assembly; so I want to place on record my thanks for its hard work in preparing all this information so quickly for members.

Earlier the chair, Ms MacDonald, alluded to the recommendations that were made by the committee. I hope that the government and the departments take on board all those recommendations. It bears stating that the purpose and intent of annual reports must be protected in this place. In recent times there has been some discussion about the validity and purpose of annual reports. Whilst I am torn in relation to this process we cannot let it go. On page 12 the report states:

From an accountability perspective, however, annual reports are an important means through which the Legislative Assembly can review the actions of the Executive.

I realise that the timing of the hearings of these annual reports often clashes with things such as estimates, but it is important to review the year gone by. In the past it has been a close thing in election years and it could be asked why we are doing this when estimates are so near. I would not like to see this process diminished in any way; I think we must vigorously defend it. The chair made other comments relating to the report. I refer to page 17 paragraph 2.9 of the report, which states:

Overall the Department’s Annual Report was compliant with Directions 2004-2005.

The Standing Committee was concerned, however, that the Report diverged from some of the recommended publication standards stated in Directions 2004-2005. For example:

“Annual reports should be modest documents”, “…reports should use no more than three print colours. Black or shades of black will be considered a colour”, “no full colour photography is to be used”, and “…consideration should be taken in the production of Annual Reports to minimise any environmental impacts”.

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