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Thursday, 27 November 1986
Page: 3830

Mr BEALE(10.49) —Yet again I thank the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr West) for making this information available to me. I point out to the Minister that, if in his referral speech he had drawn the attention of the House to the changes that had taken place in the estimates of expenditure, there would not have been all this trouble. He would not have needed to go back through all my speeches, checking to see whether what I had said was consistent. The inconsistent information came from the Minister and I am very pleased that, as a result of my drawing this whole question to his attention, he has saved the taxpayers some $400,000.

I am also delighted that the Minister has at last come out and said that 50 per cent of design and project documentation work for the public and the private sectors is fair. I want to know what the Minister thinks the word `fair' means. Surely, in the interests of the taxpayer, we give the work to those who can do it most efficiently. It is our contention that it is done most efficiently in the private sector. I have never suggested that the Department of Housing and Construction should work without any in-house specialists. The Minister is used to quoting from my draft policy paper on housing and construction. If he reads it, he will see that an inherent part of it refers to the fact that a department should maintain the sorts of in-house skills to which he has referred. The Opposition has no objection to the motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.