Page 5408 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 8 December 2009

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recommendation the committee recommends that the government report to the Assembly on how it will fund the adequate maintenance of all its public housing dwellings by the last sitting day in March 2010.

I commend the report to the Assembly and look forward to the government’s response to it.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella) (10.11): I, too, would like to record my thanks to the secretariat for what they did in compiling this report.

I would like to put on the record, as Ms Le Couteur so generously indicated, that I did not take part in the deliberative parts of the compilation of the report, quite clearly, because I had ministerial carriage of the issue that was before the committee. I would also like to outline to the Assembly, as I have done to committee members already, the approach I intend to take henceforth with regard to these sorts of reports.

Where there is a matter before a committee which was clearly part of my ministerial responsibilities, I shall not take part in either the hearings or the deliberative part of the meetings. Where there is a possibility that I may have taken part in cabinet discussions on a significant issue, I shall absent myself from the hearing and from the deliberative part of the committee considerations.

I have asked for assistance from my fellow committee members and from the committee secretaries to bring this forward if, by some chance, I miss it myself. There is quite a possibility that, in the conduct of a given inquiry, there may be an element of it, but not all of it. I would seek to have that noted for the public record.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.13): I would like to thank Mr Hargreaves for the approach he has taken to this. There is always the ability for people to get caught up in changes of position. I think he has shown a lot of integrity by standing aside in the way that he has. It certainly makes it easy for the committee to do its work.

At the heart of this report from the Auditor-General is the fact that the government did not leave itself enough time to go through the tender process properly. What we find now is that we face that same prospect occurring, in that the government is negotiating with the current contractor and, should those negotiations fall over, it does not have enough time to do the process properly if it wants to go to a full tender.

The auditor got it right when she pointed this out in her report. Paragraph 4.10 of the committee report reads:

This would give the Government less than six months to go to market and select an alternative provider if the contract is not extended. The Committee agrees with the Audit’s conclusion that less than six months would not provide adequate time for a proper tender process to be conducted, particularly given that this contract is the ACT Government’s largest ongoing contract with a private sector firm.

And there is the nub of it: as with so many of these reports, the government accepts or agrees in principle to the recommendations of the Auditor-General, but the reality is that it has not learnt the lesson. That is something that certainly we in the opposition

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