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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2114 ..

Disposal of Government Property

MRS CARNELL: I wish to answer a question asked yesterday by Mr Whitecross. He asked the question of Mr De Domenico; but it was a Health Department-based question, so I will answer it. The question had three parts. Mr Whitecross asked the Minister to confirm whether Harold Hird and Associates was awarded a 12-month contract to dispose of obsolete goods on behalf of the Department of Health and Community Care; secondly, whether the contract has been relet and, if not, why not, and will a fair and public process be followed to relet this contract; and, thirdly, was Harold Hird and Associates still disposing of equipment on behalf of the Department of Health and Community Care.

The answer to that is that in March 1994 - we were not in government then - expressions of interest were sought from four firms, not seven, who it was considered could provide the department with the expertise and ability to dispose of surplus furniture and equipment in both an efficient and cost-effective manner. The period of the agreement was from 1 April 1994 to 30 June 1994 - we still were not in government. Each firm was required to provide comments in relation to the following: Service provided by the organisation with regard to auctions taking place at departmental premises or their premises; costs associated with auctions taking place at departmental premises; costs associated with goods being offered at auctions taking place at their premises; time taken for the proceeds of auctions to be paid to the department; number of auctions in which unsold goods are offered; processes and costs of disposing of unsold goods; and other ACT government agencies that the organisation has provided disposal services for. Once the comments were received, the other government agencies were contacted to provide comments on these specific questions.

Following the evaluation of all the information available, it was decided that Harold Hird and Associates could provide the service required by the department in the most cost-effective manner - again, decided by the previous Government. The department has utilised the services of Harold Hird and Associates for disposal of assets over the past 18 months. The gross proceeds from sales this financial year are $2,465. This is a big profit centre! It was the department who decided that no additional advantage was gained by calling new quotations as the provider had agreed to continue under the terms and conditions of the original agreement. This means that the contract was let under Mr Berry. It was taken over by Mr Connolly. It expired under Mr Connolly. It continued to be operated under Mr Connolly with no contract in place for eight months, and the situation has continued since the change of government.

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