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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3028..


Questions without notice

TransACT

MR STANHOPE: My question is directed to the Chief Minister. A report in Saturday's Canberra Times quotes the TransACT chairman as saying the total rollout of TransACT would cost something over $200 million. Can the Chief Minister, one of two voting shareholders of Actew, now a 36 per cent shareholder of TransACT, tell the Assembly exactly what the rollout will cost? In other words, how much over $200 million will it cost? How much has TransACT now raised for the rollout following this latest call on shareholders for additional investments?

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Stanhope for that question. Both of the questions to some extent ask for information about the detailed workings of TransACT itself. I emphasise that TransACT is not a company owned or controlled by the ACT government. It is a private enterprise which is providing a range of services under contract to members of the ACT community. It is rolling out its cable in order to be able to do that.

The details of how much money it will cost to complete the rollout of infrastructure by TransACT in the ACT is a matter that I do not know. I am not sure I am in a position to know since the total outlets in the future are difficult to determine, I suspect, at this stage. Secondly, that is a matter which goes to the extent of the cost inputs and the extent to which those cost inputs change over a time. The estimate that was given by the company in the newspaper on the weekend, I suspect, represents the position as it is estimated at the moment.

I can give you an estimate of what the ACT's direct commitment in TransACT is by virtue of its shareholding through Actew. There is presently an investment by Actew to the tune of $39.5 million in TransACT. Actew has committed itself to providing up to $20 million further over the next 12 months, therefore raising its investment to just under $60 million. That raises its shareholding to 35.61 per cent. That assumes that the additional commitment would be fully taken up by TransACT, and that might not be the case. It is simply a commitment to supply the money in the event that TransACT requires it. There is some indication that it might not require all of that amount.

The extent of commitment by other shareholders is a matter that at the moment is being explored by TransACT, and those arrangements are not yet complete. I think, Mr Speaker, that that is appropriately a matter that TransACT needs to continue to focus on.

For our part, we will continue to monitor closely Actew's investment in TransACT and to approach the matter on the basis that TransACT is an extremely important venture, the health of which is very important to this community, and which for that reason has in-principle support from this government to continue. It represents an investment in this community which is of incredible importance to us in the future.

MR STANHOPE: I have a supplementary question. I thank the Chief Minister for his answer. I regret that we do not know the possible cost of the full rollout of TransACT. Accepting, as the Chief Minister would, that the estimate provided by the chairman of TransACT that the rollout would cost something over $200 million, and accepting that


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