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ACTEW - Corporatisation

MS HORODNY: I address my question without notice to the Minister for Urban Services. Can the Minister tell the Assembly what shackles - to use his own words - corporatisation will remove from ACTEW? Will the Minister assure the Assembly that there will be no job shedding, reductions in customer services, or degrading of energy efficiency programs under corporatisation?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Ms Horodny for her question. Corporatisation of ACTEW is all about what corporatisation of ACTEW was going to be about in 1991, when it was all set to go - with, by the way, the approval of the unions. There will be no difference in the way ACTEW will be corporatised this time, Ms Horodny. Can I also suggest that corporatisation is all about providing a better service at a more cost-efficient price to the people of the ACT. Corporatisation is also all about making sure that we come good with the promises made by all State and Territory governments, with the Federal Labor Government, at the recent COAG meeting, which discussed Hilmer. It is to make sure that ACTEW is able to compete on a level playing field with all similar institutions in the future. Corporatisation will also enable ACTEW’s different business areas to be separate entities. For example, ACTEW does a lot of fine internationally recognised work in terms of high technology, water use, and electricity and power. We want to make sure that that fine work is able to be at best practice level by enabling ACTEW to compete accordingly. To answer the part of the question relating to jobs, there is no intention for this Government to look into curtailing jobs in any area of the ACT Government Service, and there is no reason to suggest that this will happen at ACTEW.

MS HORODNY: I ask a supplementary question. Can the Minister assure the Assembly that employment conditions at ACTEW post-corporatisation will be similar to those operating currently?

MR DE DOMENICO: The answer to that, Mr Speaker, is yes.

Acton-Kingston Land Swap

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I direct a question on the land swap to Mrs Carnell. Last Thursday your Attorney-General said:

... the Commonwealth made it very clear that the ACT would have to agree to the terms of this arrangement or expect not to receive additional funds from the Commonwealth as part of the round of the COAG and Premiers Conference negotiations last month.

I ask: Firstly, was the $15m special revenue assistance part of this strange contract that has been referred to? Secondly, can the Government commit itself to a legally binding agreement to appropriate $15m by way of press release?

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