Page 2414 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 August 2015

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for the generally collaborative and constructive dialogue and deliberations that we had. I would like to express my appreciation to the committee secretary, Ms Nicola Kosseck, who remained calm, supportive and very professional throughout the process, and to all others who assisted, including Dr Brian Lloyd, Mr Hamish Finlay, Mr Andrew Snedden, Ms Sarah Redden, Ms Lydia Chung and Ms Jenny Mundy.

As this was my first time on an estimates committee, I found it a fascinating experience. In my previous working life I had appeared in front of some parliamentary committees, but this was quite a different experience.

I think it is a very important part of the process to have community groups appearing. They raised very important issues for us to consider. Thank you to those groups who appeared, including National Seniors ACT, the Childers Group, the Conservation Council ACT Region, UnitingCare Kippax, the Youth Coalition of the ACT, RSPCA ACT, YWCA of Canberra, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body.

The committee appointed CIE as budget adviser. I found their report very helpful. It was useful to refer to, especially in the early part of the estimates process. It is probably correct to say that, as you go through the process, after a couple of days it becomes much more apparent how it all goes through, but in the first couple of days I especially relied on the CIE report and it provided me with one of my most enjoyable moments of the estimates process when I referred to the CIE report whilst the Treasurer was appearing. The Treasurer commented that he had not seen the report, to which I replied, “Now you know how we feel.” This was a reference to the fact that the government generally have access to a whole heap of information that they do not release to the opposition.

A number of important recommendations were made. There were 148 in total. I hope the government gives them the consideration they deserve. They range from high-level recommendations relating to the territory as a whole to much more local and specific issues. I would like to mention a couple of those.

There was a lot of discussion, as you can imagine, about the tax reform agenda. It was quite revealing to hear the Treasurer speak about the move from previous rhetoric of abolishing stamp duty over 20 years to apparently now having an aspiration to have the lowest stamp duty in the country. Of course, that is cold comfort for those with rising rate bills.

We spoke quite a bit about Mr Fluffy and the asbestos eradication scheme, about light rail, about housing and about public housing renewal. There was a lot of discussion and there were some recommendations relating to Access Canberra and working with vulnerable people checks; weeds management; NOWaste targets; the smell from Mugga Lane tip; the importance of consultation with the community sector, especially with regard to the community sector reform levy; domestic and family violence and respectful relationships; Auslan courses at CIT; renewable energy; shopping centre renewal; road duplication in Tuggeranong, specifically relating to Ashley Drive; and bike path signage. Madam Speaker, you can see from that the wide-ranging recommendations that the committee made.

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