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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 May 1995) . . Page.. 636 ..

a proper building in a proper environment for the housing of the Department of the Environment, Land and Planning by the end of next year, December of 1996, when the John Overall Offices have to be vacated. It is as simple as that. Mr Speaker, proof of that fact is that the previous Government acknowledged it itself. As the Chief Minister indicated, the previous Government called for expressions of interest or tenders for sites.

Ms Follett: No.

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, you did.

Ms Follett: Not the Government.

MR HUMPHRIES: Not the Government. I correct myself, Mr Speaker. Apparently, a renegade department that was nominally under the former Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning, Mr Wood, surreptitiously, without any of the members of the former Government noticing, placed ads in the Canberra Times calling for tenders for the new office building, for housing DELP. The ads must have been very small. That happened, I think, in January of this year, well before the ACT Government went to the election. Apparently, the Government did not even know about it. What is even more surprising, Mr Speaker, is that contained in these calls for expressions were conditions about the sort of thing that had to be provided, including indications that a central location was preferred. Okay; these things happened without the former Government knowing about them. Somehow these surreptitious public servants slipped the ad into the Canberra Times before they noticed and on that particular Saturday no members of the Government happened to be reading the Canberra Times.

Mr Kaine: Another $60m of unbudgeted expenditure.

MR HUMPHRIES: That is right, yes. It is easy to work out how things happened under the former Government, is it not, Mr Speaker? That was bad enough. Two weeks before the 1995 election, at the beginning of February, the tender process closed, and a number of companies had indeed put forward - - -

Mr Wood: Tender?

MR HUMPHRIES: It might be expressions of interest; forget the process. Whatever it is - tenders or expressions of interest - a number of companies had put forward bids in that process.

Mr De Domenico: There were 27.

MR HUMPHRIES: My colleague the Minister for Urban Services tells me that there were 27. Do you know how many related to Gungahlin? Are there any guesses from opposite? No? You are a bit quiet today. None. Absolutely none related to Gungahlin. At that stage there was two weeks to run before the then Government went to the election. It was about a month before they left office. Did they come out at that stage and announce that the process that they had initiated was inappropriate; that it should be abandoned because it had not produced any bids for Gungahlin? Was there an announcement by the former Government saying, “No, we are rejecting the process we

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