Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3415..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Mr Speaker, the Territory Owned Corporations Act 1990, the TOC Act, as it stands, limits the number of issued shares in a corporation to three non-voting shares and two voting shares. This Bill seeks to amend the TOC Act in regard to the number of non voting shares a TOC may issue. I must stress that the Bill does not seek to amend the number of voting shares to be issued. Nor does it provide for shares to be held other than in trust for the Territory without the approval of the Legislative Assembly. Territory ownership of the TOCs will not be diminished in any way by this Bill. Having made that point clear, the Territory's ownership of the TOCs is not an issue here.
This Bill will provide significant benefits with regard to the financial management of the TOCs. Removing restrictions on non-voting shares will allow the transfer of capital between the TOCs and the Government. This enhancement to the current situation will enable more efficient and effective management of the Territory's capital. Under this Bill, the Treasurer will have the authority to request a TOC issue non-voting shares to a person authorised by the Treasurer to hold shares on behalf of the Territory. This will allow additional equity capital to be injected into individual TOCs where that is necessary for their future growth and development.
Mr Quinlan: Or taken out.
MR HUMPHRIES: Taken out, if that is what we want; if that is what the Assembly approves. Mr Speaker, the Treasurer will have the power to authorise a buy-back of non-voting shares by a TOC. TOCs are not authorised under this Bill to otherwise trade in their own shares and may only buy or issue back non-voting shares under authorisation from the Treasurer. I see this part of the Bill as an important step towards the way the Territory manages its assets and optimises the value of its investments in TOCs.
The second part of this Bill seeks to grant the Government greater discretion over the timing of preparation of a TOC's statement of corporate intent while ensuring that the SCI is produced at least annually. The TOC Act currently requires a draft SCI to be presented to the voting shareholders by 31 July each year, with the final SCI due by 30 September.
Two issues are raised in the current timing requirements. First, a TOC is three months into the financial year before its final SCI is presented to the shareholders. Clearly, it would be preferable for the TOC and the shareholders to agree on the direction of the TOC before it gets through the first quarter.
The second issue concerns the provision of information in conjunction with the budget papers. A great deal of information required for the budget is included in the SCI. The preparation of information for the budget and then updated information for the development of the SCI can result in unnecessary duplication and waste of resources for the TOCs. This second part of the amendment to the TOC Act seeks to remove the existing time constraints on the development of the SCI and grant authority to the Treasurer to request an SCI from the TOCs as required. In no way does this Bill alter the