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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 155 ..

Final Report

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (3.32): Mr Speaker, for the information of members and in accordance with the undertaking given in the Assembly on 28 April 1998, I present the final report entitled "ACTEW Corporation Limited, Risks and Strategic Issues in a Changing Business Environment" which was prepared by Fay Richwhite. Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Mr Speaker, today I am tabling a very important document. This is the long awaited report prepared for the Government by Fay Richwhite entitled, "ACTEW Corporation Limited, Risks and Strategic Issues in a Changing Business Environment". As members of the Assembly would be aware, ACTEW is the ACT community's most valuable asset after its people and its land. I am tabling these documents today to facilitate a full and informed public debate on the threats and opportunities facing ACTEW and the implications for its owners, the people of the ACT.

During the recent election campaign my Government made a commitment to ensure that the value of ACTEW as a billion dollar plus, taxpayer-owned asset is maintained. As members of the Assembly and many in the community would be aware, the business environment in which ACTEW operates has changed dramatically in recent years and is still changing. It is facing increasing competition to maintain its retail customer base within the ACT and its competitors are generally substantially larger private corporations or State-owned bodies which are in the process of being privatised. The situation being faced by ACTEW is not one which my Government has engineered or created. If Labor had won the last ACT election the same issues would have had to be faced. It is just unfortunate that those opposite do not seem to understand that.

What is fortunate for the people of the Territory is that my Government is not locked into any ideological position and, as always, will make decisions in the best interests of the Territory, following a rigorous assessment and analysis which takes into account all relevant factors. This will be done in consultation with members of the Assembly, ACTEW and its staff and the broader community. It is for this reason that these documents are being tabled today.

I will not go into great detail today on the broad range of issues canvassed in the Fay Richwhite report. Such a debate should occur once all members of the Assembly have had the opportunity to read the report. The Fay Richwhite report, however, makes some important points that I would like to draw to your attention. I quote:

In assessing the risks associated with particular business decisions it is important to understand that not making a decision is not an effective means of managing risk.

Mr Speaker, I will just say that again - it is not an effective means of managing risk.

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