Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (21 April) . . Page.. 1025..
The Assembly met at 10.30 am.
MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
MS TUCKER (10.32): I present the Territory Owned Corporations (Amendment) Bill 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MS TUCKER: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, this Bill I am presenting today is primarily about changing the structure of the boards of Territory owned corporations and their subsidiaries so that they include people who represent the interests of the employees in the TOC, its customers and clients and the natural environment in which it operates. It is also about expanding the corporate objectives of TOCs to require TOCs to exhibit social responsibility and to promote ecological sustainability.
This Bill is an updated version of a Bill I tabled in mid-1996 to amend the Territory Owned Corporations Act. Unfortunately, that Bill was not debated during the last Assembly and it lapsed. Last year I requested the Parliamentary Counsel to update the Bill for re-presentation in this Assembly. This has been a slow process because of some complications that became apparent from a review of the earlier Bill, but these have now been overcome in the new version.
The Bill had its genesis in the debate over the corporatisation of ACTEW in 1995. At that time the Greens were greatly concerned that the corporatisation of ACTEW would lead it to pursue commercial objectives over and above its social responsibilities to the ACT community and its responsibility to protect the environment. The Greens successfully moved an amendment to expand the corporate objectives of ACTEW along these lines, and these are currently listed in Schedule 4 of the TOC Act.
However, there is no reason why these objectives should not apply to other TOCs. This Bill therefore extends the corporate objectives that currently apply only to ACTEW to all TOCs. The TOCs will now be required to exhibit a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the community in which they operate and, where their operations affect