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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 4453 ..

MRS CARNELL: The answer is yes. I have received a report from the department on how it is tracking. I have also received a report from the chief executive on his performance contract. I am very happy to brief anybody about that document. Obviously, it is a very large document and it is not the sort of thing, I suspect, I could stand here and recite.

MR WHITECROSS: I ask a supplementary question. I appreciate the Chief Minister's offer to brief us. I wonder whether the Chief Minister would be willing to table a copy of the report in the Assembly, and indeed reports from other agencies, and whether she would consider asking her Ministers to do the same as well.

MRS CARNELL: I am very happy to look at that issue. I will get back to the Assembly later on today on that issue.

Environment - Funding from Telstra Sale

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, through you, I put a question to Mr Humphries, Minister for the Environment. Minister, I note that the Senate this morning passed legislation to sell one-third of Telstra. Can you explain to the Assembly, first, how the environment generally will benefit from this sale and, secondly, whether the ACT stands to benefit from the coalition's commitment to inject over a billion dollars into the environment?

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Kaine for that question.

Ms McRae: The Greens are not here.

MR HUMPHRIES: They are not here. It is a great pity. Perhaps someone could ask me the question again and I will repeat the answer when they come in. I would be very happy to do so. Mr Speaker, we are into recycling on this side of the chamber, so we are very happy to say these things again.

I thank Mr Kaine for this question, because it is really an issue of quite enormous significance for our environment that that legislation has passed. The sale of one-third of Telstra will be facilitated by that legislation. Members might be aware that that will raise about $8 billion, of which just under $7 billion will be used to retire debt of the Commonwealth Government. However, that leaves about $1.1 billion that the Commonwealth will use to establish the National Heritage Trust, which will be used directly by the Commonwealth and which, through allocations in States and Territories, will enormously benefit the environment. This is the largest injection of capital into the environment ever. It dwarfs anything undertaken by the former Labor Government at the Federal level, and it is probably the most significant national environment initiative since the protection of the Great Barrier Reef - an initiative of a former Liberal government. Over the next five years the Commonwealth will provide new funding for a range of initiatives - - -

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