Page 1993 - Week 06 - Thursday, 8 June 2006

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Question so resolved in the negative.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Administrative (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2006

Debate resumed from 6 June 2006, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (8.11): The opposition will be opposing this bill at the in-principle stage. I think we would also like to send this bill to a committee—we would probably have the same result—but we do have a number of amendments if that is unsuccessful.

There have been many attempts in the past to centralise administration in bureaucratic agencies. A shared services body was actually established by Rosemary Follett during her time in government, and with a much smaller budget than we have these days. This arrangement, which was meant to save the ACT $1.5 million, actually ended up costing taxpayers $3.5 million in the first year. Of course, we also have the Western Australian experience of shared services that was adopted in Western Australia following a functional review conducted by one Michael Costello in 2002. In 2003 the Western Australian Department of Treasury and Finance estimated that its shared services project would cost $70.3 million to implement but would generate benefits of $83.9 million by 2006-07. Unfortunately for that state, Treasurer Eric Ripper recently announced that the shared services project has cost more than $50 million so far. It has employed more than 200 public servants and has not yet delivered any return to the people of Western Australia.

Now there are good intentions, but the same thing has been tried before without success. We had a debate earlier about things like centralised grants programs and some of the problems with them. These have been tried and the savings simply have not come—in fact, they have often been much more expensive. In some instances it may not be a problem. We are actually giving the benefit of the doubt with respect to ACTION.

This party has always opposed the need for a small business commissioner. Also, we accept that the Stadiums Authority may not actually be the best way to go. Bruce Stadium, for example, as it then was, was administered by a very small group from the Bureau of Sport, Recreation and Racing in 1997 prior to its being made into a rectangular field. I paid tribute at the time to the work of Tracey Guirietto and Tony Morris, who, with a much smaller group than the Stadiums Authority has, actually made a profit—probably the only real profit because there was no government money going in—of about $112,000. We accept that the Stadiums Authority does well, but money is actually paid to ensure that the Brumbies and the Raiders play there, and that probably far outweighs any moneys that come back from it.

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