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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3365..


Mr Quinlan: Was it?

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes. Mr Speaker, we have received expressions of interest and they are in the process of being evaluated. It is my desire that the result of that should be put out into the public arena for people to be able to see and to have some information about. I do not think that extends to the full extent of putting on the table in their entirety all the documents that have been presented to the Government, partially on the basis of a confidential proposition, but I do believe that the community deserves the right to see the broad bones of what it is that is being offered by way of those expressions of interest. There was something like 46, I think, different expressions of interest put forward. There was very healthy interest in those sorts of arrangements.

Ms Carnell: There were 28.

MR HUMPHRIES: There were 28. I stand corrected. Mr Speaker, I think that information will out. Members can evaluate that and decide where they want to go. I have to say that that was not meant to be part of the process of assessing the - - -

Mr Corbell: They were going to be weighed up against the merger proposal.

MR HUMPHRIES: They will be weighed up against the merger proposal, except that the merger proposal is now dead -I think it is true to say it is now dead - as a result of the action of the New South Wales Government. We would have liked to have had the merger still on the table so that we could talk a bit further about it but the fact is that it is not on the table any longer. The reason it is not on the table is that the New South Wales Government is afraid of what people like you, Mr Quinlan, and others are likely to do with the regulatory regime and the other issues that confronted the way in which ACTEW and a merged GSE was going to operate.

Mr Quinlan: So we went to New South Wales with a maybe, did we?

MR SPEAKER: Order, please, Mr Quinlan! You have asked a question and you have asked a supplementary question. Mr Humphries is answering.

MR HUMPHRIES: If you feel that I have misrepresented the New South Wales Treasurer, Mr Egan, I suggest that you write to him and you table his response. I would be very interested in seeing what he had to say about my comments in this place. If I have misrepresented Mr Egan I would be very happy for you to produce a letter indicating to me how I have done that, but I suspect that Mr Egan would not contradict what I have said in the chamber today. I think it would be good for all of us to be able to just digest what those comments from New South Wales were and then look with fresh eyes at the expressions of interests process and see whether that produces any viable commercial opportunities for ACTEW to explore.

Mr Speaker, we are continuing to work through the issues here. We are continuing to explore possibilities. We have now got on the table the third tranche, if you like, of our endeavours to find a secure future for ACTEW. Well, we are going to put those expressions of interest on the table very shortly. Where is the Opposition's solution to


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