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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 218 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

I cannot comment on anyone else because I simply do not know them or I do not know who will be sitting on the panel. At any rate I think it would inappropriate for me to comment.

What I am suggesting is that you do not do anything different to what we did. I am happy to hear, Mr Corbell, that you are now thinking of tendering out other services as well. I understand that this is the first time there has been a tender in respect of a crisis accommodation service. I think other services have not been subject to tender and perhaps if every one is that is indeed a good thing, and that is certainly consistent with what the previous government was doing.

I think it is terribly important, Mr Speaker, that process is seen to be followed and is fair and transparent. To give perhaps a court analogy, evidence is often thrown out in court if there is seen to be some problem with it-especially the way it was obtained. If there is a problem with some of the police evidence-it might be prejudicial-that evidence can be rejected from a court case.

The situation here is not dissimilar. We had some problems with matters raised in relation to an evaluation-an evaluation that then suggested a tender, and indeed the first tender of its type. I think it is most appropriate that those allegations-and they are quite serious in terms of what happened and what did not happen-are properly investigated.

It being 30 minutes after the extension of Assembly business, the debate was interrupted.

Motion (by Mr Hargreaves) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of standing orders be suspended as would prevent Assembly Business being continued until 12.30 p.m.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, as I said, this is about fairness and transparency. It is about some allegations which were raised and which, in fairness, have been consistently raised in relation to evaluation over a period of time. You now have the substantive document in terms of that. Those are things that I think should be properly looked at to determine in fact whether the tender should indeed continue. It may well be that it should. But it is proper, in the context of fairness and transparency, for those matters to be looked at. Our committees are not perfect but I think there is no other obvious option that is reasonable in the circumstances. Indeed, rather than stopping a tender process, this may well simply delay it.

I am not going to go over what I said earlier except to repeat that what I am proposing is very fair and accountable. However, I can count and I can see that Mr Corbell's amendment, which truncates a lot of what I am doing, is going to get up. I suppose the only solace I can take from that is that at least this committee will soon be getting a reference to look at the issue of men and children in crisis accommodation. This is an area of unmet need. It is an area which the Lone Fathers Association, who run MAACS, have addressed as the sole group in our territory to date. I think it is important that an Assembly committee at least look at that. I think it is a shame, though, that it will not be looking at the other points as well, as I think that would ensure fairness and transparency.

Amendment agreed to.

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