Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 November 2009) . . Page.. 5229 ..
Clause 3 agreed to.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.42): I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 5264].
The amendment is to clarify how many members can be on a board of what size. What it simply does is take away the percentage issue which can be an interpretive problem perhaps. But what it says is that, on a board of one to six members, one member may be a public servant. On a board of more than six members, two public servants may be members of that board.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.43): The government will not be agreeing with this amendment. We have a similar amendment which it looks like I will not be able to put that did seek to raise the threshold to 35 per cent. The second amendment which we would have moved in preference to Mr Smyth’s amendment addresses the situation in which the board of a territory authority comprises fewer than five members. Two boards exist, being those of the Cleaning Industry Long Service Leave Authority and the Construction Industry Long Service Leave Authority. And the government amendment would be to allow at least one public servant board member, irrespective of the proportion of board members that might represent. Indeed, if it is not amended in such a manner—and your amendment goes to this—in a way Mr Smyth’s amendment has addressed the small board issue.
This really is government by Assembly or government by committee but we believe there should be a higher threshold and greater flexibility to appoint to boards and authorities people that have the relevant skills or experience. And this really is a very prescriptive way, through Mr Smyth’s bill and through his amendment, to control appointments to a board. Providing 35 per cent as the maximum number of members of the board to be public servants does allow some flexibility to respond to particular circumstances where the relevant skills and experience might be best provided on that board if the member was a public servant in addition to other members who may have been public servants as well.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.45): As I said earlier, the Greens do believe there is value in having members of the public service in their formal capacity on these boards to some extent but we do believe that the whole point of having a territory authority is presumably to have an organisation that is not run by the department and that community input and diversity are called for. Therefore, on that basis, I think Mr Smyth’s amendment is valuable.
I think the amendment is clear, as the bill now refers to whole people and avoids the confusion over percentage. We did suggest this to Mr Smyth in a discussion after spending some time working through decimal points and rounding up part-people and the like, and I think this is just a crisper way of doing it. I appreciate Mr Smyth taking that on board. I think it also does allow for one public servant to be on boards of fewer