Page 3904 - Week 09 - Thursday, 25 August 2011

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June—and one co-signed letter from Mr Coe and Mrs Dunne. That is the only approach that I have had outside this place, where they raise questions and continually misrepresent not only myself but also the Human Rights Commission. In fact, late yesterday afternoon, in response to those appalling commentaries from Mrs Dunne, the Human Rights Commission put out a media release clarifying the situation. Can I say that they feel quite verballed and they have made it quite clear in their media statement and in their media release that all allegations were reviewed, were considered, and the findings were reported and incorporated into the commentary and the recommendations in the report.

Auditor-General and Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment—appointments

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development and concerns statutory appointments. It appears that the recently appointed Auditor-General, Dr Maxine Cooper, also continues in the statutory position of Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, as her current and continuing contract is until 23 June, 2013. Minister, given the importance of these positions, how long does the government intend to allow one person to fill both roles?

MR CORBELL: There has been an overlap in the appointment of both the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment and the Auditor-General. The person occupying those positions has indicated that she will retain the office until the government appoints an interim replacement. That interim replacement is about to be finalised, at which point the commissioner will resign her office and focus solely on her functions as Auditor-General.

This is very much a brief, interim period to allow the inquiries that are currently underway to continue. I have agreed to a recommendation for an interim appointment for the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, and the procedural requirements to enact that appointment are currently underway.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary question.

MS LE COUTEUR: Has the commissioner been granted leave of absence from the position and could you elaborate as to the time frame for a substantive appointment?

MR CORBELL: I envisage that the implementation of the acting appointment will be put in place in coming days. That appointment will be for a six-month period, to allow the government to conclude a range of issues around possible changes to the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment’s act.

As members may be aware, the outgoing commissioner made a series of recommendations about possible amendments to her governing legislation, and the government will take the interregnum period, that six-month interregnum period, to consider its position on possible changes to the governing legislation for the commissioner before moving to implement a long-term appointment. So the government will have in place a six-month appointment to allow that process to be completed.

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