Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3387 ..
MRS CARNELL: Quite easily. It was obvious that that particular debate was about ACTION. We will maintain ownership of ACTION. We have given an undertaking to ACTION and to the unions that we will not be corporatising while they maintain their capacity to reach the savings targets that we have set for them and that the previous Government did as well. I find it really interesting for Ms Tucker to have gone down this particular track. I wonder whether Ms Tucker is aware of the situation with public transport right around Australia. Take CityRail and the suburban train services in Sydney. When you hop on one of those, Ms Tucker, do you think that CityRail or the Transit Authority own the trains? No, they do not.
In fact, what we are looking at is a situation that all around Australia public transport authorities have realised that it is better use of capital in many circumstances to go to a lease-back arrangement. The fact is that when somebody hops on a bus in the morning it makes absolutely no difference who owns the bus. What matters is, potentially, who manages the bus and whether it turns up. That has to be the bottom line. It simply makes no difference whatsoever to service delivery who actually owns the buses.
Mr Berry: You said that they would stay in public ownership. You misled us.
MRS CARNELL: I certainly can say categorically to this Assembly that our approach has been, and continues to be, that we will not be selling ACTION buses.
Mr Berry: You misled us.
MRS CARNELL: The entity will stay in government ownership. The buses themselves will not, but the actual operation certainly will.
Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, Mr Berry has said, "You have misled us". I assume he is referring to the parliament. I ask him to withdraw.
MR SPEAKER: I heard that several times, Mr Berry.
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, Mrs Carnell did tell us that she would keep the buses in public ownership, but I withdraw the word "misled".
MR SPEAKER: Thank you.
MS TUCKER: I ask a supplementary question. Mrs Carnell, you might be interested to know, too, that South Australia is starting to buy back their buses, because it has not worked. Also during that debate you stated, quite clearly, that any changes of this sort to ACTION would come only after a very public process. What is that process?
MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, again that is true. When we change ACTION services, we send out information to ask the community what they think. We have had in-depth discussions with the unions involved in terms of service delivery. How we actually organise the financing of our assets surely is not something you would put out to public consultation. For the life of me, I cannot see why on earth you would do that, why on earth any government would do that at all. I think it is really important for Ms Tucker