Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2411..
MR BERRY (continuing):
McDonald family and is leased under licence by Totalcare. The McDonald family have always wanted it to remain 100 per cent in Australian ownership and fear for its future.
Mr Speaker, the instructions to Totalcare from the Treasurer and the then Chief Minister that it not own more than 50 per cent of that asset remain in force and no direction has been issued to Totalcare which would allow it to dispense with more than 50 per cent of it. Mr Humphries has said in here that his public utterances are enough to dissuade anybody from selling any more of this public asset. That is not so. The Territory Owned Corporations Act makes certain requirements in relation to the disposal of public assets and, on my assessment of the letter which has been set out, Totalcare now has the freedom to move.
The chair of the Williamsdale quarry board has indicated that there have been discussions with big players in that business, namely, CSR and Boral. That is in complete and utter conflict with the statements that the Chief Minister has made. I want the Chief Minister to issue a written direction to Totalcare not to sell any more of that asset.
Mr Humphries: I would love to oblige you.
MR BERRY: Mr Humphries says that he will not oblige me.
Mr Humphries: I did not say that. I said that I would love to oblige you.
MR BERRY: Mr Humphries says that he said that he would love to oblige me. Actions speak louder than words, Mr Speaker. As we know with this Chief Minister, there are lots of words but there is not much action. I want to see this important public asset preserved and managed in the better interests of the territory. We have yet to see any sign of that and I intend to pursue the issue until we do.
MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (10.10): Mr Berry, that great paragon of business acumen in this place, tells us that we should be investing more heavily in the Williamsdale quarry. Mr Berry assures us that the government has missed out on a sure thing, that we have had this wonderful sure thing slip from our grasp, that the government ought to be taking a 100 per cent shareholding in this wonderful Williamsdale quarry, rather than 50 per cent. Mr Speaker, unlike the opposition, I have learned some things from the Bruce Stadium affair, one of which is that governments need to ensure that they minimise risk. Taking a 100 per cent shareholding in any venture, particularly one that is speculative in nature, necessarily means you assume a greater level of risk. Those opposite would have difficulty understanding that, no doubt. But when I have heard Mr Berry talk about the Williamsdale quarry, saying what a wonderful venture it is, how much is to be gained by the ACT, how much-
Mr Stanhope: What it was.
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, if I could ask for a little bit of protection.