Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 5 May 2016) . . Page.. 1603 ..
general debating point. I believe it was a general comment. Mr Wall did not, in any way, say that anyone in this place was filling the pockets of the union. Therefore, I have to remind Mr Wall and others to be mindful of the standing order, but I think in this case he did not transgress. On the question that the motion be agreed to, Mr Wall.
MR WALL: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It seems that this is well and truly a closed shop in the ACT, that only those who deal with the unions are going to get favourable consideration during the government procurement process. Those opposite are willing to hide and run from that scrutiny. We are about to sign a contract which is going to be tying the government, tying the ACT taxpayer, to funding the dud project of the century, the ACT light rail project, capital metro, and they are not even willing to subject the unions’ MOU with the government and the impact it may have had on that project to scrutiny.
Just this week Mr Corbell said that the Capital Metro Agency provided a copy of the MOU to both consortia in May last year. So clearly this agreement is on the table, clearly this agreement is in action, and clearly this agreement has an influence over the decisions that are being made by procurement authorities in this city.
The light rail is the most interesting one, because it was not decided by public servants within Procurement ACT. This project was in fact decided by cabinet. Those members opposite were the ones responsible for making this decision. You have a questionable deal with the agreement with the unions in place. You have the agreement being given to both consortia. Obviously the unions have provided some level of feedback—obviously not enough to ultimately change the decision that is made, but I dare say that at some level, on many occasions, the feedback that unions have provided to Procurement ACT has in fact had an influence on the outcome of the decision. It is impossible to imagine a scenario where that would not have occurred.
But here we have light rail. The consortium is provided with the MOU, ministers in this place are making the decision, and their union masters inevitably are in their ear telling them which horse to back. That stinks. It absolutely stinks—particularly their inability to stand up, accept their actions and allow some scrutiny.
We are a unique parliament. We are a unicameral system here. There is only this chamber. The review of decisions of government and decisions of this place can only happen in the committee system. They are not willing to subject themselves to that. Fifteen years is too long. They are out of touch and out of line with expectations of the community, ratepayers and, most importantly, industry.
Mr Barr continually tries to attract new business, new industry, here. He is spending thousands of dollars on his sojourns over in Singapore and China. But we are running a closed shop here. Businesses from those parts of the world will not have the confidence to come here, release their intellectual property and put it before government knowing that an extension of government, the union movement, is being given that information.
It has been raised that during the procurement process IRE certificates and the like are checked with other agencies of government. That is fine. In house, do your due