Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1864..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
should happen to a firm that has done a terrible deed there in Namadgi National Park and through the Brindabellas.
The government takes it very seriously. That is why we have the legislation there. We will use the legislation, if necessary, to force Transgrid to make amends, and, secondly, to apply penalties. In regard to the New South Wales inquiry, as the action has moved from across the border from New South Wales into the ACT, we will work with the New South Wales government in any inquiries that they intend to undertake.
MR KAINE: My question is to the Treasurer in his capacity as a shareholder in Actew. In light of recent disturbing events in the telecommunications industry, of which I am sure the Chief Minister is well aware, my question goes to the viability of TransACT Communications Pty Ltd. This is a company which was originally established with public funding by Actew and is now jointly owned, according to TransACT's website, by Actew/AGL, the Hong Kong-based Telecom Venture Group, AGL, Marconi, Australian Capital Ventures Group, and TransACT Employees Holdings Pty Ltd. According to various media and other reports that TransACT apparently has already spent in the order of $130 million in setting up and rolling out fibre optic cable in and around Canberra, there appears to have been a lot of activity and certainly a lot of media hype, but getting hold of precise commercial information is rather more difficult.
Chief Minister, in view of the level of public interest in TransACT, what is the current exposure of taxpayers' funds in this company, what is the projected exposure of public funds in TransACT over the next couple of years, what has their total expenditure been over the past year, and what has their income been over the last year?
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Kaine for that question, some of which, of course, I am going to have to take on notice. The extent of Actew's investments, that is the public's investment in TransACT, is outlined in effect in the answer I have given before in this place about the extent of the ACT's shareholding via Actew in TransACT. That is, TransACT seeks to have that level of investment from Actew in it, and at this point, as I understand it, there is no further investment from Actew or any other part of the ACT government in TransACT. From time to time TransACT seeks additional capital to continue its work. I understand they have recently been looking for further capital, which is a matter they discussed with the government, but at this stage I believe TransACT is attempting to obtain that capital from other sources than government.
Mr Speaker, as for the projected exposure, at this stage I believe that to be the amount we have already invested in TransACT, but I will confirm that, Mr Kaine. I will take on notice the other parts of the question.
MR SPEAKER: Is there a supplementary question?
MR KAINE: Thank you, Chief Minister. I look forward to hearing the answer to that question. In seeking the answer to that question, would you also look at another aspect? There have been some disturbing reports about a poor response to the service