Page 1820 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 June 2022

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MR BARR: I am always partial to a good skate park upgrade, but I will not make an announcement of policy in question time. I will raise the matter with Minister Steele when I next get the opportunity to discuss this project with him.

MR BRADDOCK: Chief Minister, whilst you are at it, can you ask Minister Steele if he is considering installing any public art installations on the Lake Tuggeranong foreshore.

MR BARR: Yes, I can. Thank you.

Canberra Institute of Technology—procurement

MS LEE: My question is to the Minister for Skills, the Chief Minister taking the question. Chief Minister, this morning in the chamber Minister Steel mentioned discussions between his office and CIT in December 2021 regarding the $8.87 million of questionable contracts. On 23 December 2021, CIT received two invoices from the consultant—that is, two invoices on the same day—to discharge in full the entire sum of a contract valued at half a million dollars. That was four months before that contract was due to end. Minister, are you aware that had happened?

MR BARR: No, I think, for obvious reasons, I was not, but I will check with Minister Steel’s office. I will take the detail of the question on notice.

MS LEE: Does it seem to you like the discussions had by Minister Steel’s office might have triggered these unusual advance payments four months before the contracted end date with the consultant?

MR BARR: That is asking for an expression of opinion. I will ascertain the time lines in relation to this. Obviously, we have discussed at some length both in question time yesterday and in the debate on the motion afterwards the process for investigation from this point. Minister Steel has asked for further information within five days. That would be the next point at which it would be reasonable to look at the time line of these questions. As we have discussed at length yesterday and again this morning, the forensic detail of this is clearly a matter that the Auditor-General is likely to take up.

MR MILLIGAN: Chief Minister, are you confident that CIT was provided with strong enough advice from Mr Steel’s office to make it clear that these contracts did not pass the pub test?

MR BARR: I note the use of the term “the pub test”. It has become one of our favourite cliches. I am not sure that there is sort of a pub test metric in which you can do an assessment. Even if there were, I am not sure that everyone would agree on the scale of whether it gets you through the front bar or the back bar or whether you can get a top shelf drink or just something on tap on the pub test. Thank you for the colloquial question, Mr Milligan. We have all seen, because Minister Steel has tabled both his correspondence and replies in the further level of detail that the CIT provided, that he has clearly raised a number of questions and received answers in relation to those questions.

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