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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 2972 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: I think I should address the objections about Mr Tomlins. I remind members that when the issue that gave rise to this particular report was first on the table, namely, the problem with betterment at Yowani, there was a call for there to be an inquiry into this matter. I recall, Mr Speaker, that those opposite joined in that call for an inquiry.

Mr Berry: Remember the chief executive of Health? He was axed, right in the neck.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Berry, on behalf of the Opposition, joined the call for an inquiry. You check the records. Mr Wood shakes his head, but in fact that inquiry was based on that joint call. Mr Speaker, those opposite cannot demand an inquiry, see the outcome of the inquiry, and then reject the findings - at least, I would not think that that would be a particularly easy thing to do - especially when it gives rise to certain comments in these circumstances about particular staff. I make no comment about those particular staff who were explicitly named in that report.

Ms McRae: Scapegoats.

Mr Berry: The buck stops there.

MR HUMPHRIES: I will say that there was no alternative but to take that course of action. It is the responsible action of a responsible government. Mr Speaker, notwithstanding that decision, I believe that the staff of the Planning Authority and the Land Division - this is a general comment - are worthy of the support of members in this place because they have done a good job. They continue to do a good job in very difficult circumstances. It is up to us, as members of the Assembly, to clear up the minefield of laws, plans, rules and guidelines which make their job so very difficult.

Industrial Relations Consultant

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, will you confirm that Mr Paul Houlihan was recently contracted by your Government to advise it on an industrial relations matter and that he is being paid more than $1,000 a day? Will you advise the Assembly precisely how much Mr Houlihan is being paid as a fee and in allowances?

MRS CARNELL: I think it has been well touted in this place that Mr Houlihan was appointed by my department to do a specific job, and that was to advise the people who were doing the industrial relations work for the Chief Minister's Department on certain aspects where they lacked expertise. I think it has been spoken about at length by Mr De Domenico. I think it was the unions themselves that suggested that my industrial relations group could do with some extra expertise in strategic planning, and it is strategic planning directly. In fact, Mr Houlihan was involved in that sort of an approach, in strategic planning directly. No-one could doubt that Mr Houlihan has expertise in that area. He gained it when he was involved in the trade union movement. When we go ahead and get expertise in an area where the unions themselves have said we need expertise, somehow those opposite get all upset. I am very happy to make public the amount of money that we are paying Mr Houlihan.

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