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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2102..


Taxi Licence Auction

MR WHITECROSS: My question without notice is to Mr De Domenico in his capacity as Minister for Urban Services. Minister, did you and your officials mislead the Estimates Committee when you told it that the reserve price for taxi licences was $200,000? Did you mislead this Assembly this morning when you told us that the Labor Government last year awarded the taxi licence auction contract to Harold Hird and Associates? Did you mislead this Assembly yesterday when you told us that it was one of your DLOs who discussed with the department whether the process had been adhered to when she saw that Harold Hird and Associates had won the bid?

MR DE DOMENICO: The answer to the first question is no, I did not mislead the Assembly, never have, never will. If I find that I have said something that is incorrect - - -

Mr Berry: No; he is talking about the Estimates Committee.

MR DE DOMENICO: As to whether I misled the Estimates Committee, the answer is no as well.

MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, I notice that Mr De Domenico has made a fairly half-hearted attempt to answer my question; so I will ask a supplementary question. Why did you tell the Estimates Committee that $200,000 was the reserve price? If it was at the time the reserve price, as you have just indicated, when did the reserve price change? Is it not true that the auctioneer who did last year's taxi licence auction was not Harold Hird and Associates but the National Auction Group? If what you said yesterday about one of your DLOs discussing it with the department is correct, why did you tell this Assembly on 19 October, "I" - that is you, Minister - "picked up the telephone and said, `Has everything been done according to process?' "? Minister, can this Assembly believe anything you say, given your repeated misrepresentations in relation to this matter?

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, the answer to the last question is yes. Mr Whitecross should know that, unlike members on his side of the house, whenever I have said something that I have believed may be construed to be incorrect or misleading I have come here and apologised. I will continue to do that. In relation to the question of whether Harold Hird and Associates had conducted the auction last year, my advice from the Department of Urban Services was that they had, and I have said that. I will check that.

Mr Whitecross: You are not getting good advice, then.

MR DE DOMENICO: I might be getting bad advice, Mr Whitecross; but if I am getting bad advice I will come back and say so. The advice I got was that Harold Hird and Associates did the auction last year. If that is incorrect, I will come back and say so. As to whether I misled the Estimates Committee, the answer is no.


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