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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1933 ..

Taxi Licence Auction

MR BERRY: My question, too, is directed to Mr De Domenico in his capacity as Minister for Urban Services. Minister, in your reply in the Assembly last week you stated that the tender received from the company bearing the name of Harold Hird, MLA, was the lowest tender received. Your actual words were, "... the lowest tender, $250 flat rate, was received from Harold Hird and Associates". We have to bear in mind, Mr Speaker, that we have to add to that $2,000 which the Minister then told us was going to be spent on advertising that galah event - you know, the great extravaganza. You also stated that a company called Hymans, auctioneers and valuers, was unsuccessful because it did not comply with the tender document. That is what I assume you meant when you said that the Hymans bid "did not fit into the tender things". Which things were they? Mr Minister, are you aware that the bid from Hymans, auctioneers, included all advertising, hall hire and nibblies? Minister, are you aware that the bid from Harold Hird and Associates was not the lowest bid received and that the Hymans bid was in fact zero - that is, no cost to the ACT Government and ACT taxpayers? Why did you mislead the Assembly by stating that the bid from a company bearing the name of a Liberal MLA was the lowest when it was not?

MR DE DOMENICO: I take that on board too, Mr Speaker. Mr Berry mentioned the advertising. I can inform Mr Berry that nowhere in the advertising, which would have gone ahead anyway, notwithstanding which company got the bid - - -

Mr Berry: No, no; they pay for it all.

MR DE DOMENICO: Just hold on a tick. You have asked the question; you will get it answered. I was not aware of what Hymans bid, or what anybody else bid, because the Minister, as you are aware, under the guidelines put in by your Government, is kept right away from the process, Mr Berry.

Ms Follett: Why did you say that it was the lowest tender?

MR DE DOMENICO: I was advised after the event, after the tender was awarded, that the tender from Harold Hird and Associates was the lowest tender. I still believe that advice. I have not read what Hymans said or what anybody else has said.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, he is happy enough to say that the Hymans bid "did not fit into the tender things". He probably had a look at the Hymans bid to see whether it had fitted into the tender. Minister, I would appreciate it if you could tell us which part of the tender documents, scribbled on a fax sheet which has been circulated, Hymans, auctioneers and valuers, did not comply with. Could you tell us that?

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Berry, once all the information goes before the Auditor-General - - -

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, the question has been asked of the Minister. Diving behind the Auditor-General is not the answer to this issue. The Minister ought to pay due respect to this Assembly and answer the question.

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