Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 26 June 2008) . . Page.. 2086 ..
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (3:54): I want to speak on the Legislative Assembly Secretariat. All in all, we members do very well out of our Legislative Assembly Secretariat, with its dedicated and skilled staff. While the Committee Office could always do with more resources, the quality of that staff is undeniable and it does well with what it has. The civility of all makes this a very pleasant place to work. The education office also works hard and it is always a pleasure to attend one of the well-organised school and community programs that Neal and Laura host.
Corporate services has experienced unwelcome staff changes, especially the accident which has taken Judy Munday from us. That makes it difficult for them. Having to work through Shared Services certainly slowed things down, and the jury is still out on its cost effectiveness. Members are still trying to work out whether the communications allowance has made our lives easier or harder.
Incrementally, improvements are occurring. Webstreaming of Legislative Assembly proceedings and committee hearings is very useful to many people. The public accounts committee was told that around 200 people are viewing it on a sitting day. It is something we need to promote more as we go about our business, as a way for the general public to see what happens here.
A large amount has been spent on maintaining the building and making it more secure. These amounts seem huge to me in proportion to what we see as we look around us. It is an old building in Canberra terms; it is heritage listed, and upkeep requires money. However, every time I enter by the public entrance I look at that X-ray frame, still not doing its job after many months, and wonder about our priorities. The public entrance upgrade has now cost over $400,000, 32 per cent above the original budget. The security upgrade overall, apart from that, was $267,000.
I was pleased to hear that there is ongoing work to improve the sustainability of the Legislative Assembly. I am pleased that we have a three-bin system in our offices but note that lack of labelling is reducing its effectiveness in the more public areas like the reception room and the committee kitchen. No labelling means that people do not separate their garbage. I have been asking for an environment plan and still feel frustrated at the amount of papers that we get here printed on only one side.
I am very proud of the Assembly’s art collection. I believe that building that collection is money well spent. The art advisory committee is extremely well advised.
On a less positive note, my office was disappointed to see that the old carpet was sent to landfill when we know that there are schemes in operation for recycling and that some innovative carpet producers actually have a system where one hires the services of a carpet and they are replaced and recycled when worn, at no cost to the environment. We are still awaiting secure bike facilities, but it is pleasing to see that so many people ride their bikes to work anyway.
The Legislative Assembly library is a very valuable resource. Members were interviewed about their preferences in regard to its functions many months ago. I am very keen to see the consultant’s report and the government’s response. I am pleased that the minister for TAMS is talking to the Speaker about it. It must be a very long