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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1940 ..

Taxi Licence Auction

MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, my question without notice is to Mr De Domenico, the Minister for Urban Services. The tender process to select an auctioneer to auction 15 new taxi plates, which is due to be held tomorrow, is now under serious question, given that the successful tenderer does not appear to have had the lowest bid; that the lowest tenderer is a company bearing the name of Liberal MLA Harold Hird; that there is some question about the involvement of your office, which you were not able to refute today; that the tender documents in relation to this tender appear to be a handwritten facsimile which does not set out clearly what services are being purchased and what criteria will be used to evaluate the tender; and that the Auditor-General has now involved himself in the matter. Given all these things, will you now postpone the auction of the taxi plates and redo the tender process in a way which is fair, follows proper procedures, and is seen to be fair?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Mr Whitecross for his question. The answer to all those questions is no. I have the utmost confidence in the process, Mr Speaker. The process, by the way, was initiated by the former Government.

Ms Follett: Then why did you call in the Auditor-General? What is the Auditor-General doing?

MR DE DOMENICO: The Government is quite happy to allow the Auditor-General to revisit the process. I am quite sure that the Auditor-General will say that the process has been adhered to. My advice from the department is that the process has been adhered to. I am quite happy to take on that advice, and I think the auction should go ahead.

MR WHITECROSS: Minister, can you confirm that, despite the fact that the Auditor-General has felt sufficiently strongly about the matter to want to look at it, you - - -

Mr De Domenico: No, he was invited to look at it. He did not feel strongly inclined to look at it; he was invited to look at it.

Mrs Carnell: I asked him.

MR WHITECROSS: Given that the Government felt sufficiently concerned about the process to ask him to look at it, why are you not prepared to postpone the auction until we have heard what they have to say, at least; if not, to redo the process in a way which is more transparently fair, and is seen to be fair?

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, this Government intends to go ahead with the business of government, and that means rolling your sleeves up and doing the job. If we are going to stop and ponder every time this Opposition doubts anything, we will be here forever. This Opposition has shown itself to be irrelevant, and it continues to show itself to be irrelevant. We will get on with the job, Mr Whitecross. You sit back there and cackle, like at Parkwood Eggs. We will get on with the job. The auction will go ahead. We are happy with the process and that is why the auction will go ahead.

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