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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3148 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

Well, did his assessment panel agree? They are a group of individuals, no doubt, just as are the members of this working party that Ms Tucker is proposing be set up to determine some of the parameters of the contract. If the assessors and evaluators can agree, why then can't a group of individuals put together under Ms Tucker's proposal agree? Why is that deficient?

As I have said, I know nothing of this contract. I have not seen the papers. However, Ms Tucker has put forward what I believe is a proposition that there are flaws in this contractual process. If that is true then, from the public viewpoint, it is likely that a flawed contract will emerge. If that is true, the minister has an obligation to have another look at it, and not simply tell us, "We cannot intervene in the tender process." If what Ms Tucker says has any substance to it, and I believe that it does, he is not fulfilling his duty as a minister if he does not require some reassessment of what is going on.

She made the point, which I thought was critical that, at least in one respect, despite the government's record on contracting, this contract contravenes the government's own contracting rules. I did not hear the minister respond to that. If that is a fact, then there is some good reason for some re-evaluation of what is going on.

I do not want to see us stuck with another contract, major or minor, that is a money machine for the potential contractor. On the face of it, in this one, the contractors define the deliverables, they define the standards, and they define the evaluation criteria, because nobody else has done so.

If that is the case, I do not believe that the government is acting responsibly, and I believe Ms Tucker's request for something to be done about it is a valid one. It is incumbent on the members of this place to make sure that the minister does review the matter and satisfy us that everything is in order, and that this contract will be acting not only in the interests of the children to be evaluated and their parents, but in the public interest, in terms of the amount of money that is going to be spent on this exercise.

MR RUGENDYKE (12.18): I must say that I have been trying to get my head around this matter. It is about a health and fitness assessment program to determine how fit our school kids are. I think that is the nature of the tender that has been advertised. As Mr Kaine also said, I do not know the quality of the tender, because I have not seen it. This has appeared on the daily program today for the first time, I think, hasn't it?

Ms Tucker: Yes, but I raised it three weeks ago.

MR RUGENDYKE: You raised it three weeks ago?

Ms Tucker: You did not follow it up. That is fine.

MR RUGENDYKE: I must have missed something.

Ms Tucker: Yes, sure. I do not mind adjourning it, if you want.

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