Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 June 1995) . . Page.. 887 ..
and we agree that that is what should be happening. We should be sorting out the details before we go ahead with the corporatisation, not after. We are also going to be moving amendments that go beyond that to other issues to do with the Public Sector Management Act.
Mr De Domenico: Do you mean to decorporatise it again?
MR WHITECROSS: No, not decorporatise it, Mr De Domenico. You are not paying attention. The Public Sector Management Act deals with issues to do with standards that are expected of organisations in the public sector and management practices of organisations in the public sector. Whether it is a corporation or not, those management practices, those standards, can apply, and we think they should. We think it is appropriate that there should be standards to do with conflicts of interest, and with orientation towards service delivery, towards honesty and towards integrity.
Mr Berry: All foreign to the Liberals.
MR WHITECROSS: These are issues that are picked up, Mr Berry, in the Public Sector Management Act and which the Liberals have just jumped in their proposals. None of these things will happen. ACTEW has been moved right outside the scope of those provisions.
Mr De Domenico: What about corporations law and company law and all that sort of thing? Does that not count?
MR WHITECROSS: Mr De Domenico, that is not the same as an Act passed by this parliament last year to protect the interests of Canberra, to set standards for how people in public enterprises work. That is what we are on about. Let us have an organisation delivering electricity and water - one owned by the people of Canberra - which abides by the public sector standards this parliament has set down. It should not be outside those standards; it should be inside those standards.
There may be, Mr De Domenico, individual items there that, if we had more time and perhaps an inquiry, we could have sorted out. Perhaps there are things that will not be appropriate to a corporatised form of ACTEW, and we might be able to work those things out. Unfortunately, we were not given the option of having an inquiry before this Bill was passed. We were not given an opportunity to sort through all the minutiae of a very thick Act, the Public Sector Management Act, before all this was done. The less than three weeks that we were given was not really enough to do that, and I have to say that the first briefing I got was not for about a week after the Bills were tabled.
Mr De Domenico: Did you read it in the meantime, though?
MR WHITECROSS: I did read it in the meantime; but the Public Sector Management Act is over 200 pages long, and digesting that, in addition to these two slim volumes, takes a while. It does not take long to exempt ACTEW from the Public Sector Management Act, but understanding what you have exempted it from takes a lot longer.