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Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Page: 4708

Senator POLLEY (TasmaniaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (16:57): I present the interim report of the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee on the performance of the Department of Parliamentary Services, together with the Hansard record of proceedings and documents presented to the committee.

Ordered that the report be printed.

Senator POLLEY: by leave—I move:

That the final report of the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee on its inquiry into the performance of the Department of Parliamentary Services be presented by 28 November 2012.

Question agreed to.

Senator POLLEY: I move:

That the senate take note of the report.

I seek leave to have my tabling statement incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows—

The Senate referred the inquiry into the performance of the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) to the committee in June 2011. The committee received both public and confidential submissions. These submissions covered a range of issues including the sale of the billiard tables and management of the heritage of Parliament house.

The committee, to date, has held two public hearings. At the first hearing in November 2011, the committee heard evidence from Mr Romaldo Giurgola, Mr Hal Guida and Ms Pamille Berg. The committee particularly wishes to thank Mr Giurgola, Founding Partner of Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp and Design Principal for Parliament House, for making himself available to speak with the committee.

The evidence provided by Mr Giurgola, Mr Guida and Ms Berg highlighted the design process for the building which encompassed not only the architecture but also the furnishings, art program and landscape design. The evidence also pointed to the architect's concerns for the survival of the design integrity of the building as it nears its 25 year anniversary.

Mr Giurgola argued that there were no effective checks and balances to ensure that any changes to the building are undertaken to preserve its inherent architectural and design integrity.

At its hearing on 2 May 2012, the committee canvassed heritage issues with outside experts.

The committee also sought evidence from DPS on the sale of the billiard tables, the culture within the Department and touched on heritage issues, including the completion of the Central Reference Document.

The committee considers that it has not completed its inquiry as there are some issues still to be explored. One of the issues is the delivery of information services and equipment.

The committee has received little evidence to date but notes that the Presiding Officers have initiated a review of information services for Parliament House. The committee also notes the Parliament-wide survey of DPS services being conducted by ORIMA Research.

The committee therefore seeks an extension of time to finalise its examination of outstanding matters.

However, there are two significant issues which the committee discusses in this report:

the sale of two billiard tables in 2010; and the overarching heritage strategy for the protection of the design integrity of Parliament House.

In relation to the heritage issues, the report canvasses issues but does not make any recommendations as the committee considers that further evidence is required in relation to specific projects before it can make any recommendations on heritage issues.

Nevertheless, the committee has made one recommendation for the completion of the Central Reference Document (CRD).

The CRD was first commissioned by the former Joint House Department in 1999 and the draft was completed in 2004. Some eight years later the draft is still to be finalised.

The CRD will provide an enduring record of the architect's design intent for Parliament House to be used to govern the approach to proposed changes to the building.

This is a significant document and its completion should be undertaken as a matter of urgency given the age of Mr Giurgola and other members of his design team.

I commend the report to the Senate.

Senator POLLEY: I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted.