Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 2019 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
now known as the Active Leisure Centre, and continuing work to ensure transparency in the financial relationship between the centre and Erindale College. The management arrangements in place for the centre recognise the need for balance between providing access by the college to facilities normally provided in a stand-alone college, on the one hand, and, on the other, ensuring that the public continues to have access to a quality recreational facility at a reasonable price.
I thank the members of the committee for their contribution to the work of this review. I table the Government's response to the standing committee.
MR QUINLAN (3.44): Mr Speaker, this initial report goes back some way. The overall report did say that the process for the letting of these tenders was, at a minimum, a bit rough. There was some prior association between the people who eventually successfully won the contract for the Dickson pool and the department - I think their referees might have worked within the system - and their referees were people who were involved in the allocation of contracts.
There were different rules applied to awarding the contract to the Department of Education for the Erindale Leisure Centre, and there were some fairly blase moves made in terms of handing over the pools before formal contracts were awarded. The report from the PAC made a couple of recommendations which I think were not harshly termed, but it was the desire of the PAC that those recommendations be taken seriously. Obviously, I have just received this response, but it seems that we have glossed over the process. I think the recommendations of the PAC need to be restated and recognised.
There was some discussion in the report in relation to the review of purchasing manuals. Now that does not matter anymore because we have devolution of authority to departments. But it was stated that there would be a review of purchasing procedures within the department and that they would be formalised. I believe that that should still have happened.
The committee did ask for projected budgets and cash flows of the Erindale Leisure Centre. There was quite an abnormal divergence from the original intention when the tenders were let. They were let for competitive tendering. For this particular one I think there was a novel approach. Personally I am not averse to seeing at least one of the leisure centres stay within public control. However, the PAC did request full information on that. There were doubts as to the process of costing in the first place before the contracts were let. I think the Assembly is entitled to receive not just a statement that says there looks like being a cross-subsidy of a couple of hundred thousand dollars, which I gather is all that is said in here. I notice that on page 4 there are some figures and statements on the projected savings, and we will take those and absorb them. I trust that we will receive those in statement form as requested.
This project was done in a fairly devil-may-care fashion. The Assembly, as a function of this particular PAC report, should be assured that lessons have been learnt from that process and from the time of that first audit report coming down; that measures have been taken to ensure that there is not this sort of cavalier approach whereby people pretty well do what they like and then we just go through a ritual. I would like to think,