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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1207..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

advice provided and available that the interests of the territory and territory consumers are protected.

MR SMYTH: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, what contingencies are being prepared in the event that the outcome of this restructuring, including the payments of dividends, impacts adversely on the ACT and its budget?

MR STANHOPE: At this stage the position of the territory, of course, has not been anywhere near concluded. It is only within the last week that the current final arrangement in the corporate sparring between Alinta and AGL has come to something that one might consider to be a concluded position. I do not know the date—I think the Leader of the Opposition may have referred to it—but it is certainly as recently as in the last 10 days or so, from memory—

Mr Smyth: Last Wednesday.

MR STANHOPE: Last Wednesday the latest, and what we believe may be the final, arrangement in relation to the new corporate structure of our partner has been determined. I have not yet had the benefit of further advice following that last achieved position. The advice that I have received to date from Actew in relation to the corporate restructuring that is occurring has been one of some comfort in the context of the significant negotiating position that Actew has. This is not an area or an issue in relation to which Actew, as an equal partner in the partnership, is at a disadvantage in a negotiating or a legal sense. Our position is well protected by the partnership arrangement. But the issues are potentially of real significance, obviously, in relation to new governance and administrative arrangements that will need to be determined. The issues have not been resolved. I have not yet received any considered advice at all on the implications of the latest emanation.

Let me say, and make this offer to the opposition and to the cross benches, that I would have no hesitation in arranging for an appropriate and detailed briefing of the Leader of the Opposition or the leader of the Greens in relation to implications for Actew or ActewAGL. It is a matter of enormous significance and I would be more than willing to arrange a briefing for you.

Schools—closures

MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Minister, both the Chief Minister and your predecessor have indicated that the government is seriously considering school closures. Now you have joined the chorus, saying on 21 April and again yesterday, "It's inevitable that some schools will close."Minister, have you or your department developed a short list of schools that you will consider closing?

MR BARR: Mr Speaker, there is at this very early stage of my tenure as minister no hit list. I will, of course, be engaging in the process in coming months of consulting with the community around a range of options that we will take forward. My view is that I need to present an open and honest appraisal of where our school system is. My objective overall is to see a strengthening of public education across the city. It is something that


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