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Wednesday, 1 April 1987
Page: 1606

The PRESIDENT —During Question Time yesterday Senator Sheil addressed a question to me concerning the payment of Parliamentary Catering Service accounts. The matter of debts owing to the Parliamentary Catering Service, particularly the debts of 90 days and over, has been the subject for discussion in the Joint House Committee and is being actively pursued by Madam Speaker and me. On 30 March Madam Speaker and I wrote separately to our House of Representatives and Senate colleagues pointing out that the Parliamentary Catering Service operates with a low cash reserve and very little working capital and that the successful operation of the Service requires the prompt payment of debts to meet its payments to creditors for goods supplied. I inform the Senate that Madam Speaker and I believe that it is not appropriate to release details of individual accounts. However, we are committed to pursuing vigorously the matter of outstanding debts. We have sought advice on alternative means of recovering these debts.