Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 11 May 2017) . . Page.. 1727 ..
MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (4.45): The government will not be supporting this amendment. As proposed, the new clause 17A would place an onerous and unreasonable burden on the administrative capacity of the CRA board. Publishing board minutes could raise significant issues in relation to the commercial operations of the authority. The government’s view is that the public interest in the transparency and visibility of the CRA’s operations is appropriately and thoroughly served through the publication of the government’s statement of expectations, the authority’s statement of operational intent in reply, any further written directions from the minister and the annual reporting process, together with the other accountability mechanisms that we have already considered and will further consider at this detail stage of this legislation. Any operational decision to publish material above and beyond what is required is one rightfully to be made by the board in due course.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (4.46): The Greens will also oppose this amendment on the grounds that Mr Barr has elucidated.
Proposed new clause 17A negatived.
Clause 18 agreed to.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (4.47), by leave: I move amendments Nos 7 and 8 circulated in my name together [see schedule 4 at page 1778]. The Canberra Liberals propose that these two amendments will also help to ensure proper governance is upheld at the CRA and, importantly, that the public is able to be kept abreast of any issues that arise.
MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (4.48): The government will not be supporting these amendments. The provision in amendment No 7 as currently drafted elevates the duties of board members enshrined in the FMA. The objects of the act already refer to “promote and facilitate the orderly and efficient delivery of residential, commercial and industrial development in the public interest, including urban renewal”. So the existing provision already amounts to the same thing without opening debate on what is meant by “public interest” or needing to define “community” or how to assess “best interests”.
In relation to amendment No 8 to clause 19, the government’s view is that the bill establishes a direct line of accountability from the chair of the authority to the responsible minister. The behaviour of board members is a matter for the board and the minister. Board members owe their personal duties to the minister, and it amounts to an unwarranted interference in the operations of the board and the processes of natural justice to apply to the consideration of such serious allegations. For those reasons, the government will not be supporting either of Mr Coe’s amendments.