Page 3296 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 19 August 2009

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Unfortunately for the minister, the Assembly disagreed with this approach and in May this year the Assembly rejected a bill that would have achieved this outcome. The machinations of this minister concerning the board of the corporation then become very murky. I will return to this aspect in a moment.

At this point, however, it is important to have some background and some consideration of principles that underlie this proposal. There are only a small number of territory authorities that have been established to support the ACT government by providing a management structure that falls outside the ACT government bureaucracy. These are the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission, ACTTAB, the Public Cemeteries Authority, the Cultural Facilities Corporation, Exhibition Park Corporation, the Land Development Agency and Rhodium Asset Solutions.

Putting Rhodium aside for one moment, each of these boards has between five and nine members. Apart from the board of the corporation, none of these boards has a public servant appointed as a public servant. I should note that the Gambling and Racing Commission has a federal public servant as a member but this person is on that board in his capacity as an expert in gambling addiction matters.

Of course, since 1 July 2009, the board of Exhibition Park Corporation has had four public servants. I need to distinguish the case of Rhodium, where the board consists entirely of, in this case, three public servants. They have been appointed in special circumstances, that is, to oversee the wind-up of that entity.

There is, in addition, one other board that should be mentioned for completeness and that is the board of the Actew Corporation. It should not be considered further because this is an unlisted public corporation established under the national corporation legislation. Nonetheless, I would note that it has a board of seven members, none of whom is a public servant.

How does my bill fit into this situation? As I noted, this bill has three purposes. The first of these is to require that no board of a territory authority shall have more than 20 per cent of its members appointed as public servants. I have proposed this for one fundamental reason: territory authorities generally have been established in situations where there is a commercial imperative to the activities of that entity, as is the case with the Gambling and Racing Commission, ACTTAB, the Public Cemeteries Authority, Exhibition Park Corporation and the Land Development Agency. In some situations, there may be a benefit for the community in establishing such a territory authority, as with the Cultural Facilities Corporation.

So the principle is quite straightforward. The government of the day has to determine whether a particular function warrants being managed from outside the confines of the bureaucracy. If the answer to that question is yes, an autonomous territory authority will be established. If the answer is that the function can be performed by the public service operating as a public service, there is no reason to establish a separate authority.

Clearly, if the government wants a board to have the benefits of particular expertise from within the bureaucracy, there will be merit in appointing a public servant to that

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