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Thursday, 26 May 1983
Page: 1097

Mr COWAN —I present the 46th general report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works.

Ordered that the report be printed.

Mr COWAN —by leave-I wish to say a few words in appreciation of the honourable members who served on the Public Works Committee during the term of this report. Naturally I pay respect first to the former honourable member for Canning in Western Australia, Mr Mel Bungey. Mr Bungey served a term of almost five years as the Chairman of the Public Works Committee. In fact, he is the second longest serving member of the Committee since it was set up in 1914. Mr Bungey was respected by all who had the privilege to serve with him because of his ability to interrogate witnesses. He was held in high regard over the years. I mention also the work of the former honourable member for Sydney, Mr Les McMahon, who was the Vice-Chairman of the Committee. Mr McMahon certainly made a contribution to the welfare of the Committee. Other members who served at the time were Senator Martyr, Mr Ted Innes and Mr Murray Sainsbury. We must not forget the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Humphreys) who is now the Government Whip. All of those men made a contribution to the Public Works Committee. The Committee kept up a certain amount of tradition over the years. Party politics never entered into the general work or undertakings of the Committee. We certainly welcome, on the new Public Works Committee the new Vice-Chairman, the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fife), who has a vast amount of experience behind him. I am sure he will make a contribution to the Committee over the years to come.

The present report reviews the 1982 year. Sixteen reports are contained within it. I recommend to all honourable members that they study closely the work of the Committee over the year. The value of the work referred to the Committee amounted to $318m. The value of the work approved amounted to $313m. Honourable members will see that a saving of $5m was made throughout the year. I think all honourable members are fully aware that, basically, the duty of the Committee is to ensure that the works which are referred to it, such as those which the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr Hurford) mentioned tonight, are necessary, generally acceptable and that the in cost is in keeping with what it ought to be. On behalf of the Committee I refer to the very strong support received from its staff, particularly Mr Dick Fenton. I strongly recommend the report to honourable members.