Page 3569 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 25 August 2009

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women is a clear criterion element that will attract funding through that range of grants programs. I believe that when you compare the ACT government’s funding criteria and performance over the last decade with any other state or territory in Australia, it would stack up very well.

Department of Territory and Municipal Services—strategic budget review

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. It is in relation to the strategic budget review of the Department of Territory and Municipal Services of 9 December 2008 by Ernst & Young.

Minister, the report reveals that in the transport regulation and planning section, there are “political influences that are resulting in certain activities not being undertaken”.

This political influence occurred during Mr Hargreaves’s time as minister. What is the nature of this political influence?

MR STANHOPE: I must say I am not aware of that particular claim or what those political influences might be or—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR STANHOPE: This was a document commissioned by the department—

Mr Hanson: It was a good idea when you last brought it up, Jon.

MR STANHOPE: It is a good idea. I am more than happy to take the question on notice. But I do actually maintain essentially the essence of the answer that I gave previously, that the underlying finding, presented by the Liberal Party, of course, as a criticism, is that there was, and remains, a very healthy and commendable culture within the Department of Territory and Municipal Services of responsiveness, certainly to the minister and ministers and certainly to the community.

It is difficult, and this was my point in relation to a lack of awareness around a word that might have been used by one of those that were engaged in the strategic review, namely, the involvement of a politician, namely, the minister. It would be, of course, a matter of some concern to me to believe that a minister should not be involved in the administration or management of his portfolio responsibilities. I guess that is the point that I make fundamentally.

I make the point fundamentally that I expect ministers to be across their portfolios. I am myself. I expect ministers to take an interest. I expect ministers to be demanding of their agencies and their public servants and their executives. If a minister is making demands of his portfolio in relation to his or her responsibilities, then I would think that that is a positive.

There is an issue, of course, in relation to the other issue that I have raised which is fundamental to the findings of the review, namely, an inclination, sometimes at the

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