Page 2153 - Week 06 - Thursday, 26 June 2008

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On pages 29 and 30 there is a discussion by the committee on the Shared Services Centre and it was pleasing to see that the committee recommends in recommendation 16 that the ACT government provide an update of the budget improvements that have been achieved to date following the introduction of the Shared Services Centre and the consequential changes that resulted. It is interesting that in the Chief Minister’s response to the budget all he simply does is note the recommendation and restate his claim; he does not actually outline where the savings have come from and how they have been achieved. It would be interesting to have that information. If they have been achieved, it should surely be quite easy to provide.

There are further capabilities to be incorporated into the shared services operation and I anticipate examining these processes in due course. I am also aware that the ACT Auditor-General has an interest in having a look at the Shared Services Centre in due course. We will await that review with considerable interest.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (9.34): I will respond in relation to this allocation for shared services—in fact to commend the Shared Services Centre staff for the enormous success that they have made in its establishment. It has not been an easy process.

It is always difficult to single out any individual in relation to any particular government enterprise or exercise, but I must say that Michael Vanderheide, the chief executive of the Shared Services Centre, has done a remarkable job in quite a difficult environment to bring together shared services and essentially to show, through the success that he has created of the organisation and the extent to which he has met his budget and achieved the savings that were always anticipated, that the naysayers were wrong.

Of course the naysayers were there thick and fast on the ground, most particularly those opposite, at the time that the Shared Services Centre was announced and created. If one goes back and looks at the Hansard, at the media and the commentary, particularly from the Liberal Party, on the Shared Services Centre and its creation, it was decried from the outset. It was said that it would fail, that it could not succeed, that the history of shared services throughout Australia was one of abject failure and that that would be replicated here. But that has not come to pass. It is an outstanding success and it has achieved its savings. Mr Vanderheide repeated that the government had asked for savings in the order of $20 million a year. They are built into the bottom line and they are being achieved.

One of the things that has not been commented on in any discussion of this budget, of the economic circumstances or the strength of our budgetary position, is the fact that embedded in the budget is just over $100 million a year in efficiencies, and the Shared Services Centre, with its creation and its operation, is a significant and central part of those efficiencies that were created and are being delivered year on year. I take the opportunity to acknowledge that publicly. It is difficult to single out any particular agency, but in the context of the history of the Shared Services Centre—the virulent opposition that it received at the outset from the Liberal Party, and the extent of the

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