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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2050 ..

MR HARGREAVES (3.44): Mr Speaker, the government response to the report of the Select Committee on Estimates 2001-2002 continues to be in the same vein as government responses delivered by chief ministers and treasurers since I have been a member of this place.

Mr Humphries has taken the licence of putting words into other people's mouths. His remarks border on misrepresenting the efforts of people on the Estimates Committee. Mr Speaker, I take exception to the remarks of the Chief Minister. I could have, like some other members, just done nothing on the committee. But I applied myself to many hours of reading, thinking and talking to people about the content of the budget. I spent many hours thinking about why the draft budget was not presented in the same format as the final budget. I wanted to see the movement from draft budget A to final budget B. But I was not given the starting point, a list of initiatives and then an end point. This draft budget process was missing. But I do not see anything in this response acknowledging that, or even suggesting that it might be worthwhile doing this the next time around.

Mr Speaker, I notice that the Chief Minister did not address some of the issues raised by two committee members who were critical of the activities of other members of the committee. Those members said that the committee was trawling for information. I was not trawling for information.

The committee had to call for information, and the information that was forthcoming was pretty damming. We asked for papers relating to probity in the decision on Yellow Cabs. Eventually, after extracting an enormous amount of teeth, we received a letter which said that one of the people connected with the Yellow Cabs deal was a good bloke, and that was supposed to be probity! It turned out that the person did not have any financial interest in the franchise anyway, so the whole thing was totally irrelevant and in effect quite misleading.

The information did not reveal what we were trying to find out was going on with regard to that deal. In fact, the ownership of the franchise is actually split between a person who lives in Brisbane and a person who lives in South Australia. The franchise for Yellow Cabs is not owned by anybody living in the ACT. Any profits coming from that will go out of the ACT. If it takes trawling to find out these sorts of things, Mr Speaker, it is a pretty abysmal state of affairs.

Mrs Burke and Mr Hird used the words "penchant for trawling". I reject that entirely. Had we not asked for papers and investigated things closely, we would not have found the connection between Canberra International Airport and the Canberra Airport Group, and the relationship Mr Service has with both, in relation to an accommodation change. Again, Mr Speaker, this is information that was being withheld either accidentally or deliberately-I do not know and I do not care which, but trawling for information like that should have been unnecessary.

Mr Speaker, if my memory serves me correctly, 46 of the 69 recommendations of the committee can be directly related to the budget. Others relate to the process and some of them relate to other issues. As I said, 46 out of 69 are directly related to the budget. That is hardly consistent with the rubbish that the Chief Minister has put forward.

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