Page 1708 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013
effectively useless in painting the real picture. The figures did not take into account the issue of indexation properly, nor the room for each state and territory to embark on bilateral discussions. Ultimately, the figures were never meant to represent the finished product and the publication did more harm than good in the national debate.
In closing, I am broadly supportive of a full assessment of the ACT’s considerations of the reforms as we get closer to the end and for the financial impacts to be tabled once we actually know what they may be. For example, it is impossible for the government to make ironclad commitments about the forward estimates when we have not signed any agreement and do not have all the details of what, if any, agreement may be worked out.
For that reason, I will be supporting the amendments to this motion that Ms Gallagher has tabled and that will see the information presented to the Assembly when the information is fully available. I will be supporting the calls for the government to recommit to ensuring the ACT is not disadvantaged. I will be supporting the need for a full assessment of the options, negotiations and outcomes to be presented to the Assembly by 8 August this year. This will allow time for the government and the Chief Minister to continue to work through all of the details in the first sitting week calendared after the 30 June deadline set by the commonwealth. I would expect, however, that if there was any breakthrough or decisions made prior to that debate the Chief Minister would, of course, make that information publicly available at the conclusion of those discussions.
Mr Gonski himself said repeatedly that there was a lot more work to do to achieve a fairer, more equitable system. That work is nearly, but not quite, completed now. While we are still in the negotiation phase, it is clear that things will be somewhat fluid. That is why I think the proposed amendment is the more appropriate response. I think the information that Mr Doszpot is seeking is not available, given that fluidity, but I believe it is entirely appropriate that the Chief Minister come to the Assembly when the process is completed and give a full account of what the ACT has signed up to so that members may be involved in an informed debate on that.
MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Disability, Children and Young People, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Women, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (12.08): As the Chief Minister has indicated, the government is not supporting the motion as presented today. She has already tabled and circulated amendments. Again, as has been outlined, the release of the information Mr Doszpot is asking for during a live negotiation with the commonwealth would indeed prejudice the bargaining position and would be an irresponsible action taken by any government. I think Mr Rattenbury has made comment on that as well.
The fact of the matter is that those opposite clearly do not understand what this reform agenda means. It is obvious, given the interjections yesterday during question time, that those opposite are having trouble following this discussion. After months of very little interest in these reforms and no public commentary on their position on these reforms, they have found a new interest, but with little understanding. I put the call to the Canberra Liberals to be very clear today. They will have an opportunity in their