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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 151 ..

MR SMYTH: I am happy to take that one on notice as well. As members would know, equipment like the snake house in Belconnen has recently been damaged. In fact, the snake house was burnt to the ground, which was a great shame. That will put extra pressure on that budget. We do have a limited fund that we allocate to the maintenance and upkeep of all the assets that the ACT Government has. We take that responsibility very seriously. As soon as I find out the detail of the program, I will get back to you.

Ecowise - Proposed Staff Buyout

MR CORBELL: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, yesterday in question time you stated that the only discussion you had had with the ACTEW board or ACTEW management over proposals to sell Ecowise Services was when you were informed of their intention to offer a staff buyout. Chief Minister, can you say, in the interests of preserving your credibility, when that discussion took place and when you were first advised of the planned sale of this public asset?

MS CARNELL: Obviously, I have to check my diary.

MR CORBELL: My supplementary question is: Will you inform the Assembly?

Ms Carnell: Of the date that I met them?

MR CORBELL: Yes. If you were not involved in the decision to pursue the staff buyout of Ecowise, do you agree that you have abrogated your responsibilities not merely as a Minister but also, more importantly, as a shareholder on behalf of the Territory?

MS CARNELL: I am very happy to look at my diary to determine on what date it was that I met or spoke to the members of the board, Mr Service and Mr Mackay. That is not a problem at all. I believe that the decision they have taken is a very appropriate decision. I believe very seriously that, if a little entity like Ecowise that competes directly with the private sector is to grow in the future and is to maintain its current employment and maybe even increase it, it will be much better placed with the people involved running their own company. This is not a core part of ACTEW's business; it is a subsidiary. It is, as I said, a government-owned entity that is competing directly with the private sector. I believe the decision that they have made is the right one. I believe really strongly that, if people who work in companies can have a stake in their companies, in their own futures, then that is better for them.

Car Registration Plates

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, through you, I would like to address my question to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, yesterday we had a little chat about car registration plates and I commented at the time that you had successfully avoided answering my first question. In referring to Hansard today, I discovered that you also successfully failed to answer the second one. Very good. We obviously have first-class ministerial potential here, Mr Speaker. Minister, with the Speaker's approval, I would like to follow up on those questions of yesterday. You told us in one of the answers that

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