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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 05 Hansard (Friday, 14 May 2004) . . Page.. 2050 ..

community, let me say, is $8 million—at last check by me. I stand to be corrected on that. But the nonsense that has gone on here tonight and the nonsense that went on in the Estimates Committee really does this place no credit whatsoever.

I will even take the further step in relation to the arrangements and the deal that the previous government had with Wizard and say that again there was just a presumption in all the questions that here was a small business being done down by this particular government’s not honouring deals. That is an incredible assumption to have been made. Let me tell you: I have lived with this deal on and off for virtually all time we have been in government, and the deal is a shambles.

But I will guarantee you this much—I will not guarantee it, but I think it has been settled in recent days: Wizard has received more out of that contract because it was with the ACT government than it would have received from any other commercial party that it had a contract with. The way the contract was managed does no credit to WorkCover, but it does no credit to Wizard either. I will put on record that I believe Wizard has been very fortunate to have received the amount of money it received for the contract it set out.

I want to take just a little time to put on record the details of the contract: Wizard was building a system—a system that it believed would, after it was installed with WorkCover, become a commercial product which Wizard would be able to on-sell, and sell again and again. Therefore, it was prepared to use WorkCover as a test bed and was prepared to apply more labour and more resources to building it than the contract required. Beyond that, the system just ate up resources; it was either an ill-conceived or badly managed project; it ate more and more resources; and it turned out that the product probably would not sell anywhere else.

So what happens? Well, the government should pay for it all: “Because we cannot sell it; because the deal we had in mind does not work, the government should pick up the tab.” We have this ridiculous situation where members of the government go before estimates and are questioned as if they are doing down some poor victim when this government, let me tell you, has bent over backwards to settle that deal amicably. I repeat: there is no chance that Wizard, if it were dealing with any other commercial company, would have received the settlement that it has finally received.

Really, most of the other stuff was the usual drivel that we are getting lately in this place, and I do not intend to respond to it.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (10.16): I seek leave to move amendments 1 and 2 circulated in my name together.

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