Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2699 ..
MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services) (11.29): The Government intends to support paragraphs (1) and (2) of Ms Follett's motion, but we will not be supporting paragraph (3). However, the Government is prepared to support the amendment proposed by Ms Horodny for the Greens. In the light of what Ms Follett said, the Government agrees that any regime anywhere in the world that uses the abhorrent tactics used by the Nigerian Government in order to suppress political differences needs to be roundly condemned by this Assembly and others. However, we are on dangerous ground when we start talking about the involvement or non-involvement of major international or national or local companies. Unless we have our facts and figures right, it is very dangerous territory we are going into.
In the light of what Ms Follett said this morning, I did a little research - as much as I could in the limited time available to me - and I can advise the Assembly that the Government has an alternative to Shell only in relation to its supplies of unleaded petrol from service stations, which contributes only about 9 per cent of the total fuel use. I got this information when Ms Horodny came to see me last week about the same issue. I can also say that there is no alternative supplier to Shell under contract for bulk supplies of unleaded petrol. The Government is bound by the current contract with Shell for the supply of diesel fuel until at least January 1997, and the impact on Shell of moving to possible alternative supplies would be limited. There would be a considerable additional cost, however, to the Government in moving to an alternative supplier of unleaded petrol from service stations.
Can I also say that the Government will review its position on the use of Shell unleaded petrol in light of the new contract arrangements expected to be entered into by the Department of Administrative Services. This Government has no contract at all for the supply of service station unleaded petrol; it piggybacks on the contract the Federal Government has with Shell. I am advised that that contract is currently being renegotiated by the Federal Government, and we will see what happens out of those negotiations before we can take any action. In terms of the contract this Government has for the supply of diesel fuel to ACTION buses, there is no alternative but to continue with that contract, I am advised, until it comes up in January 1997.
I will get further information and provide that to the Assembly as it comes along, in terms of some of the subsidiaries of Shell. I am not aware of any Shell subsidiaries off the top of my head, but I will ask my department to provide me with those details, which I will pass on to the Assembly. As I said, the Government is quite happy to support paragraphs (1) and (2) of Ms Follett's motion and the amendment to be moved by Ms Horodny. As I said to Ms Horodny last week, if people feel inclined not to use Shell service stations when they fill up their cars, there is nothing to stop them, I am advised, from opening an account at a Mobil or BP or any other service station. I am advised that Urban Services or ACT Fleet are quite prepared then to pay that bill. There is nothing that forces people to use Shell, unless you have to.