Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 175 ..
Mr Rugendyke: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I draw your attention to standing order 41 and remind the Minister for Health of that standing order with reference to passing in front of Ms Tucker.
MR SPEAKER: I uphold the point of order.
Mr Moore: I apologise, Mr Speaker.
MS TUCKER: We do not see that there has been any real strategy developed to ensure that the community interest is, in fact, served. We do not see how community service obligations will be able to be met. We do not see the governments that are pursuing the privatisation agenda actually understanding how to build a contract that will provide that assurance for the community. I support what Mr Quinlan said. Unless they get their act together, the pendulum will definitely swing. It is going to be a disaster. There are going to be diminishing services. Interestingly, I noted the list - I could not note all of it - but Mrs Carnell said that, if we do not privatise, there will be loss of service, there will be loss of custom, there will be loss of jobs. All three have happened in Victoria with privatisation, and the other items on the list have probably happened as well.
So, there really is a lot of work to be done. Unless we see that, I for one certainly would not be supporting privatisation of these utilities, because there is just no system for how to do it, and I think the community would suffer. The shame of it is that there is an opportunity anyway to really do the things that the Fay Richwhite report talked about. We have often said in this place that ACTEW could actually compete by being an energy service provider. It could attract customers from all over Australia. There are ways in which it could become much more creative in the way that it operates and probably compete quite satisfactorily.
I would love to see a much more creative and optimistic approach to this taken
by the Government, because there is always this underlying sense that, "What
can we do? There is going to be this grab for market share in a minute. If we
do not sell it now, it will not be worth anything in the long run. So, we
really just have to do this".
It is more complicated than that, and I hope that the discussion gets more
MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, may I make a personal explanation under standing order 47 and explain a couple of my words, seeing that Mr Humphries referred to them. As to saying, "Where should we go?", as far as I am concerned, the maximum we should review is the risk of market exposure of the retail arm of electricity supply. We should, as a matter of principle, retain all electricity hardware that is not subject to duplication or competition. We should retain all water supply, because neither is that subject to competition or duplication, and it has other ramifications. We should retain all sewage works, for the same reasons. So, to clarify the position, we should look only at the electricity retail arm.