The Senate referred the inquiry into the performance of the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) to the committee in June 2011. The committee received both public and confidential submissions which raised significant issues particularly in relation to the employment culture of DPS, the issue of bullying and harassment within DPS, management of heritage values and, of course, the sale of the billiard tables from the Staff Recreation Room.

The committee, to date, has held two public hearings. At the first hearing in November 2011, the committee heard evidence from Mr Romaldo Giurgola, Mr Hal Guida and Ms Pamille Berg. The committee particularly wishes to thank Mr Giurgola, Founding Partner of Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp and Design Principal for Parliament House, for making himself available to speak with the committee. The evidence provided by Mr Giurgola, Mr Guida and Ms Berg highlighted the design process for the building which encompassed not only the architecture but also the furnishings, art program and landscape design. The evidence also pointed to the architect's concerns for the survival of the design integrity of the building as it nears its 25 year anniversary. Mr Giurgola argued that there were no effective checks and balances to ensure that any changes to the building are undertaken to preserve its inherent architectural and design integrity.

At its hearing on 2 May 2012, the committee canvassed heritage issues with outside experts. The committee also sought evidence from DPS on the sale of the billiard tables, the culture within the Department and touched on heritage issues, including the completion of the Central Reference Document (CRD).

The committee considers that it has not completed its inquiry. The evidence received so far to its questions on bullying and harassment in DPS highlighted the need for further examination of these matters. In addition, the committee has yet to address appointment procedures in DPS. Other issues which still require examination to adequately address the terms of reference include projects undertaken by DPS which have raised heritage concerns, resource agreements for the provision of services within and by DPS and the delivery of information technology services and equipment. In relation to information technology services, the committee has received little evidence to date but notes that the Presiding Officers have initiated a review of information and communications technology for Parliament House and a Parliament-wide survey of DPS services, including information technology, is being conducted by ORIMA Research on behalf of DPS.

The committee will therefore seek an extension of time to finalise its examination of these matters. However, there are two significant issues which the committee discusses in this report: the sale of two billiard tables in 2010; and the overarching heritage strategy for the protection of the design integrity of Parliament House. In relation to heritage matters, the report canvasses issues raised but does not make any recommendations as the committee considers that further evidence is required on specific projects before it can make any recommendations on heritage management. Nevertheless, the committee has made one recommendation for the completion of the CRD.

The CRD was first commissioned by the former Joint House Department in 1999 and the draft was completed in 2004. Some eight years later the draft is still to be finalised. The CRD will provide an enduring record of the architect's design intent for Parliament House to be used to govern the approach to proposed changes to the building. This is a significant document and its completion should be undertaken as a matter of urgency given the age of Mr Giurgola and other members of the design team.

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