Page 1210 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2015

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Certainly in a number of portfolios that I deal with—for example, in the Health portfolio area—a lot of information is reported in a range of different forums not just by the ACT government. Now that we have the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority we see a lot of information available in their documents, in the AMA public hospital report card, in information provided by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and also on the MyHospitals website.

The bill addresses a range of information in a range of annual reports that would essentially reduce the amount of information that is being provided in those reports. There is a significant list. They are available in the document. I will not read them all now. There are a couple of dozen of them. We have been through them and had a look at the information. Certainly on the surface it would appear that that information would be available in other forums.

But what I would say is that we would expect that the information no longer provided in annual reports, if it were not available in other sources, should be made available from the government by request—be it by written correspondence, be it by freedom of information or be it by question on notice or question without notice. We would expect that to be the case. Certainly we would monitor the information that would no longer be provided. If it is the view that there are aspects that we feel had been removed and perhaps should not have been, we would certainly seek the right to come back to this place to make that amendment.

So the principal concern that we have is the aspect of this bill that means that annual reports will no longer be provided at the three-month mark. It is now a four-month mark. There are a couple of aspects to this that are of concern. One of them is that in an election year we will not get that information until after the election. I do not know whether that was the deliberate intent of the government, but that would certainly be the consequence.

We do not want to have a situation where important annual information provided by agencies is only coming after an election. We want to see it prior. The three-month mark does that and I think that is a necessary and important aspect of scrutiny of government and accountability of government.

The other point I would make is that on the one hand the government are saying, “We want to reduce the amount of information that is reported. We want less duplication. We do not want to have unnecessary, onerous requirements on directorates.” We support that. As a general principle, as Liberals we support that. But then the government are saying to us, “But we need more time.” You cannot really successfully run those two arguments in parallel. If the government say to us that they want less to report on, I would have thought that they would say, “We will get it to you quicker. There is less to report on. We are going to remove a whole bunch of reporting requirements so we will be able to get these reports to you in a more timely fashion.”

But no; this is the ACT Labor government and they are special. They are pretty special. What they are saying is, “No, what we want to do is cut out a whole bunch of

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