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Thursday, 26 May 1983
Page: 1095

Mr FIFE(11.11) —The Opposition raises no objection to the proposal outlined by the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr Hurford). We understand the urgency of the measure and fully support the actions he has taken . As Deputy Chairman of the Public Works Committee I need to point out to the House, however, that the Committee accepts that the Public Works Committee Act provides that proposed work may be exempted from its scrutiny on the grounds of urgency. I also inform the House that the Committee was given two briefings by departmental officers, which it appreciated, on the background to the proposal and the reasons for the urgent nature of the work. Should the Committee have agreed to the exemption of the work it would, of course, have been giving tacit approval to the project. The Committee, of course, is not in a position to do that without a public hearing. I am advised that the Chairman has written to the Minister for Communications (Mr Duffy) stating that it would have been able to conduct a public hearing into the proposal during the winter recess and to table the report early in the Budget session. But, as I said at the outset, the Opposition, and indeed members of the Committee, fully appreciate the need for urgency.

Question resolved in the affirmative.