Bill: Parliamentary Committees [Public Works Committee] Amendment Bill (2nd Reading)


Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 10:31 ): I commend the member for Schubert for bringing this bill to the house. This bill is similar to one that I have suggested to our party room before, and I think the member for Schubert has taken up that call and argued forcefully for it. The party room has given its absolute support because this is an important measure that will improve—

Mr Knoll: Without dissent.

Mr GARDNER: —without dissent, in fact, and on that basis the member for Schubert has put it to the parliament because it will add to the committee's system under which the parliament operates. It will improve public accountability for measures involving public works. It will ensure that South Australian taxpayers get the best possible deal for the expenditure of their public funds on projects the government thinks are suitable going forward.

It will bring the Public Works Committee in many ways into the 21st century to reflect the manner in which public works are actually undertaken in the real world. I give this bill my wholehearted support. I commend the member for Schubert for bringing the forward, and I hope that the house will dally no further and support this bill.

Mr KNOLL ( Schubert ) ( 10:32 ): It seems not long ago that we saw you, and I congratulate you on last night. A lot of us got to duck out, Deputy Speaker, but your chairmanship was steadfast and untiring, and I think you deserve a lot of credit for that.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you; I think we were all remarkable.

Mr KNOLL: This is a very common-sense amendment. Essentially, all we are asking is for public-private partnerships to be referred to the Public Works Committee. This is a very simple measure that increases the transparency of the government and gives parliament its rightful oversight over important projects, such as the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

When the Parliamentary Committees Act was put into place, the concept of a public-private partnership was not as well understood as it is today, so this is really just bringing legislation into the 21st century and ensuring that the parliament, as was intended by the establishment of the Public Works Committee, has oversight over all public-private partnerships that are valued at over $4 million.

I remind the member for Waite of his comments in this place on this exact topic. I look forward to his support today, and also that of the government. Against the backdrop of reducing transparency when it comes to cabinet documents to ICAC and to the Auditor-General, when it comes to not supporting the very sensible shield laws, when it comes to not supporting Freedom of Information Act changes that the member for Hartley brings forward, this is something I think we can all get around, and I sincerely hope that the government sees sense on this issue.

The house divided on the second reading:

Ayes 20

Noes 22

Majority 2

AYES

Bell, T.S.

Chapman, V.A.

Duluk, S.

Gardner, J.A.W.

Goldsworthy, R.M.

Griffiths, S.P.

Knoll, S.K. (teller)

McFetridge, D.

Pederick, A.S.

Pengilly, M.R.

Pisoni, D.G.

Redmond, I.M.

Sanderson, R.

Speirs, D.

Tarzia, V.A.

Treloar, P.A.

van Holst Pellekaan, D.C.

Whetstone, T.J.

Williams, M.R.

Wingard, C.

 

     

 

NOES

Bettison, Z.L.

Bignell, L.W.K.

Brock, G.G.

Caica, P.

Close, S.E.

Cook, N.F.

Gee, J.P.

Hamilton-Smith, M.L.J.

Hildyard, K.

Hughes, E.J.

Kenyon, T.R. (teller)

Key, S.W.

Koutsantonis, A.

Mullighan, S.C.

Odenwalder, L.K.

Piccolo, A.

Picton, C.J.

Rankine, J.M.

Snelling, J.J.

Vlahos, L.A.

Weatherill, J.W.

Wortley, D.

 

 

     

 

PAIRS

Marshall, S.S.

Digance, A.F.C.

 

     

 

Second reading thus negatived.