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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 1875 ..

MRS CARNELL: I think I have already given that undertaking. It has been a directive from me that I believe strongly that homebirth should be an option for women. It is an option that is taken up by only a very small number of women. I think at this stage some one per cent of births in the ACT are homebirths. Even though it is only a small number, it is an option that some women want to take up and it should be part of the process. I have given that undertaking and we are working to achieve that. I am sure that Ms Horodny would be aware that there are certain hurdles to get over, but we will.

Taxi Licence Auction

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr De Domenico, on the same subject, and I want to ask about procedures. Minister, what procedures are followed when determining which auctioneer is appointed to dispose of government property in this case we are examining, or including the Department of Health?

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, I do not know what happens in the Department of Health; but in this instance, Mr Wood, following the announcement on 21 September 1995 of Cabinet's decision to release 15 additional taxi plate licences at auction in October 1995, the Department of Urban Services invited tenders from seven local auctioneers listed in the Canberra telephone directory. The tenders were sought on 27 September 1995 by telephone and they closed on 6 October 1995. In addition to all the seven auctioneers telephoned by Transport Regulation who submitted tenders, a proposal was received from a company called Hyman's Auctioneers and Valuers. I believe that they are a Sydney company. Quotes were requested from tenderers in a flat rate fee format, and the quotes ranged from $250 to $950. The lowest tender, $250 flat rate, was received from Harold Hird and Associates, who were appointed by the Department of Urban Services to conduct the auction on that basis. Although the proposal from Hyman's Auctioneers and Valuers was considered, it was not taken on because it did not fit into the tender. All the unsuccessful tenderers have been notified in writing.

The Contract Services Unit of the Department of Urban Services has advised that the correct procedures have been followed and that there is no conflict of interest because Harold Hird's status as a Government MLA played no part in the selection process. Harold Hird and Associates have advised that the auction fee will be donated to Fabric - Family Based Respite Care Inc. - a Belconnen-based charity. As far as I am aware, Mr Wood, the information I have from the Department of Urban Services is that no conflict of interest has occurred and the correct procedure was followed.

MR WOOD: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker, although I should be allowed to be on my feet to again ask the first question, to which I did not get an answer, as to the procedures to be followed. Will the Minister confirm that he is the Minister responsible for disposing of government property? Does that not come under the Minister's portfolio?

Mr De Domenico: Yes, it does.

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