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Friday, 20 February 1987
Page: 473

Mr HAWKER —by leave-As Chairman of the sub-committee of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Expenditure, it was my honour to chair the inquiry. Very briefly, I want to say a few words on the response from the Minister for Communications (Mr Duffy). Firstly, I commend the Minister and the Government for their prompt response. It is exactly three months to the day since this report was tabled in the House. Considering that we have had the Christmas break, the Government and the Minister in particular are to be commended on the speed with which they have responded. I hope that the Minister has set a precedent and an example for other Ministers in the Government. Also, on behalf of all members of the sub-committee, and the Expenditure Committee, I thank the honourable member for Goldstein (Mr Macphee) for his complimentary words a few minutes ago on the efforts of the Committee. As honourable members can see, it is very much a bipartisan committee. Certainly, its members appreciate the support of both sides of the House.

The Committee is also very appreciative of the fact that the Minister's response has been positive. The Minister has taken up the recommendations. In the first case, the Public Service Board review of technical officer classifications, the Minister has said that he has taken this up with the Public Service Board. For that we are grateful and we look forward to further action in this area.

The Committee is also pleased to see that the Minister has made a positive response to the second recommendation of the Expenditure Committee, albeit that at this stage the response is a little bit vague. The Committee is very keen to see the Government follow up these points. All I want to add at this stage is to say that, despite the Government's response, the Committee may consider studying that response on this point in more detail at a later stage; but obviously that decision has not yet been taken.

On the third recommendation, that the Overseas Telecommunications Commission Act should be amended to allow it to expand its activities into the field of telecommunications, particularly internally in Australia, again we are very pleased to note the Government's response. Members of the Committee look forward to seeing the legislation that the Minister has foreshadowed to see how this will be put into practice.

On behalf of the members of the sub-committee and the members of the Expenditure Committee, I again thank the Minister for his prompt response to the report and I also commend the Government for the positive nature of the response to that report.