Page 348 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2012

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Finally, in question time yesterday Ms Bresnan asked me: what are the conventions with the tabling of a report from the ACT Commissioner for the Environment? My answer is that section 22 of the Commissioner for the Environment Act outlines the tabling arrangements for reports received under section 21 of the act. However, the footnote at page 11 of the commissioner’s report notes that the particular report Ms Bresnan was referring to was not tendered to me under those provisions. The footnote says, “This audit assessment was conducted similarly to a commissioner-initiated investigation,” which indicates that the view of the commissioner was that the report was undertaken in a similar matter to a special report but was not identified as being provided as a special report under section 21 of the act. In this case the requirement to table under section 22 is not applicable.

I wrote to the commissioner on 29 March last year, thanking her for her report, which would complement the working papers being developed within my department addressing those issues. My letter advised the commissioner that the government would not be releasing the report at that time because of that other work. I note that the report in question is now available on the Commissioner for the Environment’s website.

Leader of the Opposition

Statement by member

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition), by leave: When addressing the motion I stress that all outstanding compliance matters have been dealt with. I am informed that all matters raised in the FOI letters were resolved some time ago. I have been repeatedly assured, and my office has been repeatedly assured, that nothing in those matters amounted to anything like the accusations made by the ALP against myself and the office over these issues. I have further been informed that had such evidence existed it would have been referred to proper authorities.

I accept that there has been a lateness in timesheet submission. This, in combination with some facts and in isolation of others, has been used to create accusations that are completely without basis and utterly untrue. The following are the full facts that explain those circumstantial factors and redress the misconception that has been created and promoted for political purposes. I address the Assembly motion under section 5 as follows:

(a) At all times I have been satisfied that staff have been gainfully and appropriately employed to conduct business on behalf of myself or other members. I have sought to rectify any outstanding issues with timesheets as they arose. In one instance, there was substantial delay in addressing timesheet delays. I accept this delay and I accept that it was too long, but I also accepted from this staff member that there were reasons for this delay.

These reasons included matters which we have, up till, now gone to considerable lengths to keep private and confidential out of respect for the staff member concerned. In this instance, the employee’s father unexpectedly died in New Zealand. This resulted in my staff member making journeys overseas to supervise the funeral

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