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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 26 March 2015) . . Page.. 1207 ..

There has been discussion with respect to the reporting dates. I think this set of dates allows sufficient time to get the job done, particularly with the winter recess occurring. While being mindful of the fact that the estimates committee will be working during that time and there is some crossover, this leaves a significant window after that. It is also a matter of getting on with it this year, so that we can get some answers to these questions in a timely manner. That is important as well.

Minister Burch has put forward an amendment. I am happy to support the amendment, in that she has sought to add some additional background information. But I am quite comfortable with the fact that Mr Smyth’s original motion called for an examination of the future of clubs and listed a series of elements. Minister Burch’s paragraph (1)(d) lists all of those elements, bar the ones she spoke to, and is framed in the context of the future of the clubs industry. There is plenty of scope for the committee to have a broad-ranging look at this and for submitters and witnesses to the committee to discuss the full remit of issues.

I believe we have a pathway forward here, and I look forward to this committee getting underway, and particularly to the opportunity for a range of community stakeholders to put their views on these matters.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.56): Speaking to the amendment and closing the debate, I thank members for their support for the intent to establish an inquiry into the future of the clubs sector in the ACT. It is a timely and very important inquiry.

In regard to some of the things that have been said, it is interesting that the government seek to delete subparagraph (1)(b)(i), relating to government gaming reforms. We have had a number of instances where, with respect to items referred to committees, the government have just gone ahead and done whatever they have wanted, anyway. So there is a real question about this government’s respect for committees and the committee process.

Clearly, the governance of the territory must continue, but what is the point of having a select committee to look at something if the government already have an established position and are going to continue with their gaming reforms? How the committee will deal with that will be interesting, but I just make that point.

Paragraph (3)(b) of the amendment states that “a member of the crossbench be appointed to the committee for the purpose of this investigation”. For clarity, I note that that is Mr Rattenbury, given that he is the only member of the crossbench. Perhaps it should have said, “Mr Rattenbury be appointed”. Normally we seek nominations et cetera, but it is quite clear that Mr Rattenbury will have the pleasure of joining those of us on PAC for the next few months. I am sure we will enjoy the experience.

Mr Rattenbury raised the issue of timing. The shorter time frame is of some concern to me, simply because you, Madam Assistant Speaker Lawder, Ms Fitzharris and I, apart from being on PAC, are also on estimates, and we know that in June, July and August we tend to get knocked around a bit, not just from the public hearings but from the private hearings and deliberations. PAC, as always, will endeavour to meet the guidelines and the time frames set by this Assembly.

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