Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

How to bury a parliamentary inquiry – delay reporting

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-12-22

Regular readers will know I’m an activist for improved government consultation, and have been getting some joy from Canberra, but more and more misery from Spring Street (Melbourne).

Joh Brumby has done it again.  The "Melbourne’s Future Water Supply" inquiry report has been effectively buried before birth, by delaying the report by 4 months (meanwhile, busily paying money to contractors to build the pet projects the inquiry was to investigate!).

The delays between referral and submissions opening, the short time submissions were open, and the long time between submissions closing and the report was due were bad enough when I wrote about them back in 2008-07-26.  But it’s got worse.

  • Date of referral to committee: 2007-09-19
  • Open for submissions: 2008-07-22
  • Submissions close: 2008-08-29
  • Original “no later than” report date: 2008-12-31
  • New report date: 2009-04-30 (as of 2008-10-09)

Silly me, I’d gone back expecting to find the report before the end of the year!

So why the four month’s extension to report on a few documents, a couple of interviews, and a few photo-ops and glad-handling site visits?  Do the committee members need remedial English lessons to get them up to speed, or are they wanting to get pet projects and contractors happy so that by the time the report is tabled (and it may even be deferred again and again), it’ll be too late to fix things?

The only excuse for a committee to take that much time is if their report is a work of genius and thoroughness, everything, including a zillion alternative proposals costed down to the cent, with better rainfall and population modelling than the IPCC, the BoM and the ABS could do.  Naaaa…. that won’t be the case.

Governance in Victoria?  Don’t make me laugh!

Has anyone noted this tactic anywhere else, or on any other inconvenient inquiries?

Perhaps the only way of shedding any light on this is via the Senate inquiry into the Water Amendment Bill 2008 which has recently opened, and ostensibly is about saving the Murray-Darling (which Brumby’s North/South Pipeline will help bleed dry). 

Anyway, here is the snippet from the main Vic inquiry page that notes the all-too-convenient deferral:

On 19 September 2007, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee received terms of reference from the Legislative Council to inquire, consider and report no later than 31 December 2008 on the relative merits of supplementing Melbourne’s water supply.

The Committee invites written submissions from interested persons and organisations addressing the terms of reference.

The due date for submissions is 29 August 2008.

On the 9 October 2008 the Legislative Council resolved that the reporting date for the Inquiry into Melbourne’s Future Water Supply be amended so as to require the Committee to present its report by 30 April 2009.

If you would like further information, please contact the Committee Secretariat on (03) 8682 2803 or

BTW: Care to take the Joh Brumby Survey?  Anyone care to guess whether the report will be delayed again?


3 Responses to “How to bury a parliamentary inquiry – delay reporting”

  1. It looks like the Water Amendment (Saving the Goulburn and Murray Rivers) Bill 2008 bill, currently under inquiry will be giving Joh Brumby nightmares … because it prohibits water being taken from the Murray Darling and unless there is a loophole, Brumby’s pet North/South pipeline will be contrary to this bill.

    Send your comments to by 2009-01-30

  2. […] changes since 1990Carbon dioxide, blood pH and no time to evolveContrarian view of the Dalai LamaHow to bury a parliamentary inquiry – delay reportingSingle parenting: for bluemilkBiased court drawings and re-enactments: how far is too far?Overview […]

  3. […] Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-06-26 Annoyingly, I missed the inquiry into the use and availability of Public Sector Information (PSI) in Victoria, but this isn’t surprising given how difficult it is to find out what inquiries are happening.  (Regular readers will remember my many posts on the procedural problems with the "Melbourne’s Future Water Supply" inquiry). […]

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