Page 3939 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 23 November 1993

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ACTTAB - Contract with VITAB Ltd

MR CORNWELL: Madam Speaker, my question is addressed to the Minister for Sport, Mr Berry. Mr Berry, apart from negotiations with the directors of VITAB, who I understand include the former Prime Minister, Mr Bob Hawke, what feasibility studies or advice, apart from Treasury and the Government Solicitor, did you refer to before you agreed to sign a contract with a private company based in Vanuatu - a country which has no racing industry and, as far as we can ascertain, does not even have a racetrack?

MR BERRY: Of course, I also took the advice of the ACT Government TAB, the one that we own. Their advice was that we could do well as a result of this agreement. You mentioned the Treasury advisers, and that is appropriate in the scheme of things, as well as the ACT Government Solicitor's Office. That is the sort of advice that one takes in negotiations which - - -

Mr De Domenico: What? In a business agreement with an offshore company?

MR BERRY: They are the best advisers the Government has. They are the experts the Government refers to in securing advice. Their advice was that this was a good deal for the Government and it was safe. A little while ago I told you that I would tell you what the figures were. In the first year it is 1.5 per cent of turnover, in the second year it is one per cent of up to $50m of turnover, and after $50m the commission is reduced to 0.5 per cent. The figures at this stage are estimated to range between $300,000 in the first year and $600,000 in the third. The agreement will return for the ACT significant amounts of money, at little cost to the Territory Government.

Education Budget Cuts

MR MOORE: My question is directed to Mr Wood as Minister for Education. Minister, now that you have had enough time to assess what specific areas will be reduced as a result of the budget cuts in education, would you please inform the Assembly of which specific areas will be cut?

MR WOOD: Madam Speaker, this is a remarkable event - a question on education from Mr Moore. Congratulations! The Estimates Committee raised this matter and indicated that it did not get a sufficient reply from me. Let me point out the process that occurred, and necessarily occurred. The Chief Minister will elaborate a little on that later in the day. It is necessary in our system to go into the schools and to talk to the schools about how things are done. We do not impose that level of control on our schools. I do not expect that Mr Moore would know that. That was the proposal and that has been done. Schools are now responding, and have been over a quite long period, to the Education Department on the means by which they intend to accommodate to the reduced budget. There were quite a few means available to them.

I note that yesterday a document was circulated - I do not know whether Mr Moore has seen it or not - via the Teachers Union which claimed, and I say claimed, to indicate some of the ways the schools would be accommodating to that reduced budget. I am not convinced that that document, which you may

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