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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3057 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

decided amongst ourselves" - we are not calling witnesses or whatever - "that we have a structure that we think is worth while then we will send it to the Urban Services Committee and get their input to it". I was only talking to Bill Symington about this the other day. That was what we intended to do. I cannot see anything wrong with that.

Mr Hird, if you are offended because we did not tell you that we had even had a briefing by the OFM to explain to us, to clarify, the capital works budget, because we are interested in it, because we are charged to be interested in it, you have my sincere apology. If you are offended by the fact that you are advised of this only at the same time as everybody else in this place, including the Chief Minister, who is responsible for the capital works budget, you have my sincere apology, Mr Hird. But, at the same time, I would call on you to withdraw some of the derogatory remarks that you made earlier as they were inappropriate. If, in fact, your sensibilities have been offended by such an omission, why do you not just show the courtesy that you thought I should show and say in the corridor, "Excuse me, mate: What about this one?". No problem!

Mr Hird: I did not know about it until today. I did not know about it until this morning.

MR QUINLAN: Mr Hird, are you sure about that?

Mr Hird: I did not know about it until this morning, thank you very much.

MR QUINLAN: Is that in Hansard?

Mr Hird: Yes, it is in Hansard and you heard what I just said.

MR QUINLAN: Okay. I return to it, Mr Hird: If you are offended by it, if the Chief Minister happens to be offended by the fact that we are reviewing the structure - not the content and not the programs in the capital works budget, which are your responsibility, but the presentability and the information value - of the capital works budget, you have my sincerest of apologies.

MR HARGREAVES (11.49): I will be very brief, Mr Speaker. In my experience as an officer in the Public Service running around doing just these sorts of things, compiling capital works budgets and other sorts of budgets, I can recall providing them in a format laid down by the OFM and its predecessor organisations. What we are talking about here is defusing the issue. First of all, if I can digress for a moment, Mr Speaker, I apologise to Mr Hird sincerely for some frivolous comments I made before and I withdraw them quite unreservedly.

We are talking about two committees here and we are talking about process and content. The Urban Services Committee is, quite rightly, charged with examining and being critical of the content of capital works submissions and estimates. The operative word there is content. The Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee is quite right in wanting to look at the format, because the format goes across many departments. I have had significant service in Health and in Education and in both instances I was obliged to prepare my paperwork in accordance with templates laid down by OFM, even though at times I thought that it was the biggest load of rot I had ever had the misfortune to be connected with. However, I had to.

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