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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3039..


MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I am confident that, in addressing issues which agencies face, we will be able in many cases to negotiate changes in the contract arrangement between the government and the agency concerned. That may not apply to every agency. But I can say that the government is cognisant of the impact on agencies in general and is anxious to provide the means for as many agencies as possible to be able to continue to provide those services.

Mr Speaker, there are, of course, other pressures on agencies, such as increasing insurance premiums, and we are acutely aware of those things as well. We will attempt to work through those issues with the community agencies concerned.

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. I thank the Chief Minister for that answer. I did not quite pick up every word so I will carefully read what he said when that is available. I think you said that you would be assisting agencies to cover those costs. Is that correct?

MR HUMPHRIES: There are a number of agencies we will be assisting to cover the costs. Whether that includes every agency, I could not say at this stage. But we are aware of their problems and we are attempting to work through those issues with them. There are discussions which are mainly through Mr Moore's department and/or the areas that he administers. These matters are actively being discussed with a large number of organisations at the present time.

TransACT

MS TUCKER: My question is also to Mr Humphries and is also about TransACT. I am interested to know what other financial assistance is being provided to TransACT by Actew, either directly or through ActewAGL. Can you tell me whether ActewAGL is effectively subsidising TransACT by bringing forward its electricity pole replacement program at its own expense to carry the extra weight of TransACT cables, and can you tell me the amount of this subsidy?

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Ms Tucker for that question. I am not aware of any in-kind support being provided by ActewAGL to TransACT. I am aware of course that Actew made an initial investment in TransACT by developing the concept and establishing the platform on which it is now being built. That input has been factored into the contribution which Actew has made to the venture. My understanding is that that contribution was not an ongoing one; that there are not any other arrangements.

It would make sense that both Actew and AGL, if they were shareholders in TransACT, might provide TransACT with some special arrangements such as reduced electricity charges, but I could not say that I am aware of that. I will take that part of the question on notice and obtain a fuller answer for Ms Tucker.

MS TUCKER: And also the dollar amount the subsidy would be worth. I have a supplementary question. If I understood you correctly, you said you were given notice on a Thursday that a decision needed to be made by the Actew board. I thought you said you were given a day's notice by the Actew board to make a decision. You had a cabinet meeting on the Friday and you were informed on the Thursday. Did I hear you correctly?


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