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Thursday, 10 May 1984
Page: 1937

Senator GILES —I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Territories and Local Government to a question to him on 3 May in which it was suggested that the Government was sitting on the report of the Task Force on the Implementation of Self-Government in the Australian Capital Territory. Has the Minister for Territories and Local Government tabled the report? Are arrangements in train to table the report in this place? Can the Minister guarantee the people of the Australian Capital Territory that they will have ample opportunity to discuss the report before any of its recommendations are implemented?

Senator GIETZELT —It is true that Senator Reid asked me a question on the report of the Task Force dealing with self-government for the Australian Capital Territory. I understand that report will be tabled in the House of Representatives today and will be available to honourable senators shortly. The Minister in his tabling statement has advised that the Government is not necessarily committed to the particular arguments or recommendations of the Task Force and will take into account the community's response to the report and the development of the Government's position on the implementation of self- government. The Government also expects to receive soon the report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission on Australian Capital Territory finances. In the light of public comment on the Task Force and the Grants Commission's report, after consultations with members of the Task Force, the House of Assembly, the Trades and Labor Council of the Australian Capital Territory and relevant departments and authorities and other community organisations, the Government proposes to publish in the first half of 1985 a White Paper on the implementation of self-government. This will allow further public consideration of the Government's intentions. In addition, the consultative process to which this Government, of course, is very heavily committed, will include the establishment of a committee of relevant unions and government officials to give particular consideration to the question of an Australian Capital Territory administration separate from the Australian Public Service, depending upon the results of the Government's decision.