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MR CONNOLLY: As I have said, each of those four reasons, even assuming that they are valid policy goals, can be achieved under the statutory authority form. Providing efficiency incentives: Yes, ACTEW has been working on that for years, moving year by year to improve its position, and could continue to do so under the statutory authority form. Surely you would not deny that you can achieve that under the statutory authority form; and, if you do deny it, please explain. Separate the regulatory functions from the commercial functions of ACTEW: We do not necessarily agree that that is a desirable policy goal; but, if it is a desirable policy goal, you can easily achieve it by separating your regulatory functions into the Department of Urban Services, or whatever other arm of the ACT service you want to perform them, while retaining the corporate and commercial functions within the statutory authority model.
Identify and fund accordingly the community service obligations: You can do that under a statutory authority model, and work has been done to that effect already. If that funny little piece we read in the newspaper this morning and that Mr Whitecross adverted to is an indication of things to come, you will be doing that across a whole range of government services, whether they be statutory authorities, corporations or line agencies or departments of state. There are plenty of line agencies where you could apply the argument that there are community service obligations and that those should be separated. So, you can achieve that policy goal, if it be a sound policy goal, quite easily under the statutory authority form. Allow the Government and the community to maximise the returns on their investment in such enterprises: Again, you can achieve that under the statutory authority model.
Of your five points, four of them are easily achievable, if they are sound policy outcomes, under the statutory authority model. Your fifth point says that it has to be a corporation in order to be a corporation - we grant that as a matter of logic, but it is meaningless - and you have to be a corporation to be competitive. The competitive nature of a body depends, at the end of the day, on its bottom line. If I am a commercial customer, my choice of whether to buy power from ACTEW, Pacific Power, Prospect or Illawarra will depend on the bottom line. I could not care less whether I am dealing with a statutory authority, a government-owned corporation - which we are assured ACTEW will remain - a private sector body or a half-government half-private-sector body. My decision as to where to buy power will be that I will buy power where it is cheapest.
Mrs Carnell: And that is what this is about.
MR CONNOLLY: But why do you need to change to the corporate form? If you want to go ahead with efficiency processes, if you want to go ahead with micro-economic reform, you can do that - - -
Mrs Carnell: Because it is important to have employment flexibility. It is called employment flexibility.
MR CONNOLLY: But you have given all sorts of assurances to the unions about not tampering with terms and conditions, have you not? So, you are not going to change terms and conditions. You have said that to the workers. You have given these promises, but now you say that what we have to do is change the employment structures to reduce the bottom line.