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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4723..


MR MOORE: I have a supplementary question.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Before I call you for the supplementary question, Mr Moore, I would like to draw the attention of members to the presence of a photographer from the Australian newspaper. That photographer is in the chamber on the same arrangement as the earlier one this morning.

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, my supplementary question refers to the VITAB promoters mentioned in the report. At page 118, paragraph 314, there is mention of a firm, Macphillamy Cummins and Gibson. The author of the report says that, in his view, recovery is available either from the VITAB promoters or that law firm identified in paragraph 314. Will you indicate whether you intend to risk good money on yet another pile of lawyers, who are going to do very well out of this, in going after bad in attempting to recover the money identified in this report?

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, that is a very good question from Mr Moore. I think the last thing anybody wants to do is throw good money after bad. Equally, if there is a capacity to get back the $3.3m in court settlements that were paid to VITAB as a result of the deal that Mr Berry said was safe for the Territory, or he guaranteed personally was safe for the Territory, we should get back what we can.

What I plan to do, Mr Moore, is liaise with the board of ACTTAB and legal advisers on the capacity for us to try to get the money back from the promoters of VITAB. If that is not possible, I want to look at the opportunity for legal advisers; but I have to say I will have to weigh it up with the sorts of costs involved in getting it. It could end up being prohibitive. If it is going to cost us $5m to get $3m back, I do not think that is a good deal for Canberra. I have to say, on the basis of how they work balance sheets, that those opposite probably would. From my perspective, if it is going to cost us more than we could possibly get back, it is not a goer; but we will make sure that we have proper advice and that the board of ACTTAB is involved in that decision.

MR SPEAKER: I would like to welcome to their Assembly members of the Weston Creek View Club who are in the gallery at the moment.

Chief Minister - Motor Vehicle Accident

MR WHITECROSS: My question without notice is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, earlier today the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Berry, wrote to you giving notice that in question time today I would be asking you to set out for the Assembly the circumstances leading up to and subsequent to your accident on the Federal Highway on Sunday. Mr Berry indicated in his letter questions he believed you should answer in relation to this incident. Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table a copy of Mr Berry's letter, for the information of members.

Leave granted.


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