Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1921 ..
MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):
Each government business activity will be reviewed. This process of improving the competitive environment is already under way with the work of the red tape task force and a general review of legislation and regulations. Once again, we are not alone in doing that. Governments of all political persuasions and all political colours from time to time do conduct such reviews, and so they should. Once again, for the edification of the Greens, it is not something that is coming out of left field or right field or even middle field; it is just coming out of the field of commonsense.
With regard to restructuring our public utility, the ACTEW Corporation, we have chosen to introduce a corporatisation model rather than privatisation. This is a deliberate commitment to maintain essential infrastructure in public ownership for the benefit of the community. Each agency will be asked to examine its business activities and, where appropriate, reform any anti-competitive conduct. We do, however, have the capacity to sanction conduct that restricts competition where it is in the public interest. Again, I stress, as Mr Wood has, where it is in the public interest. I do not expect that we would use this facility unless the benefits were very clear.
It is important to note that all States and Territories are required to implement complementary legislation because we all signed the agreement - all States and Territories of all political persuasions all over the country. New South Wales, I am told, has passed its legislation, and in other States Bills either have been introduced or will be introduced shortly into their respective parliaments. This legislation complements the Commonwealth's Competition Policy Reform Act - in fact, it is word for word - which was granted royal assent on 20 July 1995.
To summarise, can I once again thank Mr Wood for the way he has cooperated and chosen to look at this Bill. That same cooperation and information that was made available to Mr Wood would also have been made available to anybody else who cared to come and ask for it. We make sure that at most times we get bipartisan support. We need to look at what Ms Tucker had to say, though. It should not be left unsaid that, once again, the policy of Ms Tucker and the Greens in general, we are aware, is to do exactly what their colleagues did in the Federal house. That was unsuccessful, by the way, and so it should have been, because it belied reality. From time to time, when people with particular political persuasions, such as Ms Tucker and Ms Horodny, talk about things, reality goes out the window.
As Mrs Carnell said, put simply, if we refuse to pass this legislation, the people who are going to miss out financially are the people of the ACT, to the tune of $3.7m initially, going up to $10.4m per annum in the year 2000-01. If Ms Tucker and Ms Horodny want to say to their constituents, "Because of our shenanigans in the Assembly, because we copied what our Green mates did federally, you are going to miss out on $10.4m worth of funds from the Commonwealth", be that on their own heads. I am certainly not going to be in the position of telling the people of Brindabella that because of the way I voted in this place they are going to miss out on potentially $10.4m per annum. As Mrs Carnell said, we cannot start digging moats around the ACT and saying, "Let us do it differently from the commonsense way because in the ACT we happen to have two Green members in the Assembly". Once again, if that is what Ms Horodny and Ms Tucker want to do, be it on their own heads as well.