Page 992 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2015

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Report 3

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (10.30): I present the following report:

Justice and Community Safety—Standing Committee—Report 3—Inquiry into Annual and Financial Reports 2013-2014, dated 24 March 2015, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

I present the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety’s report on annual reports 2013-14. The committee held hearings on two days and heard from 35 witnesses, including the Attorney-General and his officers; the Minister for Corrections—now the Minister for Justice—and his officers; and the Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and his officers.

The committee also heard from statutory officers. Notably, this was the first time the ACT Electoral Commissioner appeared before the committee in annual reports hearings in his new guise as an officer of parliament—an important development, as members will agree.

Madam Speaker, annual reports hearings are, with estimates, part of an important framework of accountability in the ACT. These recurring overviews of government policy, agency actions and expenditure generate a comprehensive picture of what goes on in government. Some issues are more topical and of the moment, but there are also important issues that play out over a long period which are no less significant for the governance of the ACT.

In this instance the committee has made five recommendations, which I will briefly mention. First, the committee recommends that the ACT government publish all submissions to its inquiry into law reform on double jeopardy. This is an important issue which would benefit from a wider awareness of the arguments put to the inquiry.

Second, the committee recommends that the Emergency Services Agency discipline staff found to have been involved in inappropriate behaviour. There appears to be some doubt as to whether this has always taken place and a consistent response is critical to establish effective behavioural norms in the agency.

Third, the committee recommends that if the ACT government proposes to change legislation so as to target outlaw motorcycle gangs, this legislation be referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety for inquiry and review. There are important balances to be struck for such legislation between the particular purpose of the legislative changes, liberty and the principle of equality before the law.

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