Page 1604 - Week 05 - Thursday, 8 May 2008
to the role and function of each of the additional staff that you refer to. I must say that I could not, off the top of my head, detail or list the roles and responsibilities of additional staff that have been employed within the Chief Minister’s Department over the course of the year. However, in the broad I can answer the question. I will have to check and confirm my answer to this. I will say this is my understanding, but I would want to take the opportunity of confirming my understanding.
The additional positions to which you refer are almost certainly positions associated with the role and function of the strategic projects unit which is, as I am sure you are aware, headed by Mr David Dawes. In the context of the establishment of that particular role and the funding for the positions that are attached to it, the government was mindful of the need to have, within the Chief Minister’s Department, the central department of the ACT public service, an opportunity for strategic management direction of significant projects. It is an office headed by David Dawes. His deputy executive is George Tomlins.
My understanding is that those particular positions relate to the strategic projects unit, which has a range of responsibilities. It is the area within the Chief Minister’s Department that oversees all of the strategic projects and the strategic initiatives and initiatives which are of singular importance to the government; for instance, the delivery of aged care units. We coordinate now across agencies. It is a coordinating office with a coordinating function. I can use the example of aged care. It is through that particular office that strategic planning and coordination across agencies in relation to the provision of aged care accommodation is undertaken.
It is an area that accepts responsibility for providing advice to me on issues on land supply. It is the agency within the Chief Minister’s Department that liaises with the Land Development Agency in relation to, for instance, the direct sale of land, an area of significant importance not just to the government of course but to the broad community.
I will take the question on notice. I understand that I have not been able to answer in the detail that perhaps you were seeking. I would, I am sure you understand, need to take specific advice on each of the positions, but I am more than happy to do that.
MR SPEAKER: Is there a supplementary question?
MR MULCAHY: Chief Minister, you may wish to add this to the matter taken on notice: could you inform the Assembly of what your estimate is of the core front-line services that could have been provided if that expansion of your department had not occurred?
MR STANHOPE: The question is particularly hypothetical. It depends on the area of service delivery one would wish to concentrate on or respond to. No consistent answer could possibly be given. For instance, there might have been a cost if the provision of strategic direction and management of major government projects and initiatives had not been pursued. That is an incredibly valuable role that is being pursued by David Dawes, George Tomlins and their team in relation to issues like aged care, the development of our land supply strategy and direct grants of land.