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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 2 Hansard (27 February) . . Page.. 587..


MS McRAE (continuing):

Finally, I would like to pick up another issue raised by the MBA. Really, a lot more needs to be done to ensure that local interests can compete fairly. They are very concerned that not enough is being done in this area. They were specifically talking about tenders that may fall their way from the Barton Highway project. They are very fearful that the RTA will get control and therefore tender in such a way that ACT companies will not be able to be involved.

I do not understand the nuts and bolts of all of that, but I understand the thrust of what they are saying. The thrust of what they are saying is that, if at all possible, the ACT Government should get its hands on that tendering process, not because they think they will more easily win contracts in any way but because the ACT Government is more likely to be more sympathetic to creating smaller chunks of tenders which are then able to be competed for locally. I am sure that that is a message that Mrs Carnell has heard before, but it was the first time I had heard it put quite so clearly. We did question it and talk about it in committee. I thought it was important to reiterate that. I am repeating something that is well known, but I do not mind putting it on record.

To end on a positive note, this is a report that rightly expresses genuine gratitude for the Government's response to previous committee recommendations. The paperwork did take into account pretty well everything that previous committees have said. Every department went out of its way to provide carefully annotated detail. All the public servants that we met during the public inquiry were on top of their brief and able to give us all the information that we needed. To that extent, I hope that this is the beginning of a standard that will not be dropped by any future government. I hope that as a result of some of the recommendations of our own report, and some of my own additional more creative thoughts, we can make a very good job even better in the future.

MS HORODNY (4.39): Mr Speaker, as Mr Moore has said, the presentation of this year's draft capital works program was a great improvement on that of previous years. I have been involved in two previous draft capital works programs and it was certainly a lot easier to find figures and to look through the paperwork and so on. But there still remains another problem which I believe is an enormous problem, and that is to do with the transparency of the selection process.

It is still not clear how all the capital works fit together or why what has been left off the program has been left off. One example would be the cyclepaths. For instance, we see that paths would be going in here and there, or paths would be fixed up here and there, but we do not see a clear strategy that details where these paths will fit into a larger plan of cycleways and when they will be built. Another example is roads, of course, especially relative to bus priority measures. We see that roads are being proposed without a strategic context. Again, there is no transparency in regard to the need for those roads and what work has been done to determine overall transport needs in the community and how best to meet those needs in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

I agree with Ms McRae that a 10-year strategy would be very useful so that committees and, indeed, all members, plus the community, of course, can see properly what has been planned and how this year's program fits into a bigger picture. The Government must explain how the different programs fit into some sort of overall strategy. It is very important when allocating money to understand what the Government's priorities are.


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