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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2668 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

job to protect their asset base, to protect their income, and to deliver a dividend to the government and the community. Within those requirements, they have a certain latitude about how they handle the commercial responsibilities.

Public works expenditure

MR QUINLAN: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. In the second half of last financial year the government brought down a mini-budget, entitled Appropriation Bill No 2, for $43 million worth of additional expenditures. Incorporated in that was $2.7 million, under the heading "Urban services", for a range of maintenance work, including line marking, road resealing-I presume that means resurfacing for the purpose of this question-and cycle path maintenance.

In the estimates hearings on this appropriation bill in April, I queried the ability of the government and your department to observe due process in purchasing-remember that the government has already had its road to Damascus of due process post Bruce-to prepare and let contracts for significant works and to have them completed between the time of the passage of the supplementary bill and the end of the financial year. I was assured that the extension of existing contracts would allow the works to be ordered, completed and paid for in two months by you or officers with you.

I had a look at the government web site and saw three contracts for road resurfacing: a rural, a southside and a northside contract. All were let in 1999. In fact, if they were completed by the due date, they would have been completed by February this year at the latest. One of them says "in four months", but I assume that is a misprint. The only one of those that have been extended is the contract for northside, and that extension took place in November last year.

So how has the additional resurfacing portion of the $2.7 million of maintenance been ordered, managed and, I assume, completed between the passage of Appropriation Bill No 2 and 30 June?

MR SMYTH: My memory of that was that the chief executive proposed extending the existing contracts, and those options are often written into contracts. As we came into surplus, with urgent works that needed doing and wanting to deliver the sorts of services that the people of Canberra wanted and deserved, we sought that extra money, including the $2.7 million for the road works.

I will have to take the specifics of the question on notice and find out which contracts, if any, were extended and what progress was made.

MR QUINLAN: I can only ask you, if you do follow that up, to do it properly, given that there are only a couple of sitting weeks left.

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