Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 148 ..
MR BERRY: Amidst this fluctuating agenda, would the Chief Minister unequivocally rule out the sale of Totalcare?
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, anybody who unequivocally rules out anything in politics probably ends up falling into the same trap as Mr Egan did in New South Wales. Mr Egan, the Labor Treasurer in New South Wales, said that he would never ever, ever, ever sell electricity assets in New South Wales and nor would Bob Carr ever, ever, ever do that. Anybody who is stupid enough to unequivocally rule out anything that is legal in politics ever in the history of the world is making the same mistake as Mr Egan. Of course, with Bob Carr, Mr Egan is quite keen to sell electricity assets.
Mr Speaker, I know that Mr Berry thinks this is funny, but I do not think it is funny. If those opposite are totally ruling out the sale of any asset ever, they are letting the people of the ACT down. They are saying that, even if you got to a stage where the people of Canberra would benefit by that sale, where it would produce more jobs in the ACT and where it would be better for the community, you would say no. That is the basis of this assumption. This Government will ensure that decisions along these lines are made in the best interests of the people of Canberra; that they take into account maintaining the value of the asset; that we make sure jobs are protected; and that we take into account things such as the service provided, the cost of the service and the quality of the service.
MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, does the Chief Minister really think that it is honourable to rule these - - -
Mr Hird: Is this a supplementary question?
MR BERRY: Yes, it is, Harold, if you just sit and wait. Does the Chief Minister think it is the honourable thing to do, if she understands the word, to rule out these sales and keep them secret before an election and then acquiesce in the progress of these sales and the preparation for these sales after the election?
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, before the election I made it very clear that we had under way the Fay Richwhite report, which I think I am going to table after question time today, to look at the issue of ACTEW. We are not exactly saying that this was not anything we would never look at. We said that we would organise ACTEW, ACTTAB and our other Territory-owned corporations so as to maintain the value of those assets; that we would look at ensuring that the products that they provided, such as electricity, were provided at a competitive price; that the quality of the service that was provided by any of those services was paramount in our minds.
For the interest of members, I will table Mr Egan's quote. Mr Michael Egan, New South Wales Treasurer, said - - -
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, may I interject with a point of order?
MS CARNELL: I would not want me to quote this either, Mr Berry, but I would sit down if I were you.