Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (19 May) . . Page.. 330 ..
MR OSBORNE (continuing):
because the ACT's Competitive Neutrality Complaints Unit believed that a public sector swimming pool would breach key principles of the competition policy, a link which I believe many people feel is a bit tenuous. Chief Minister, given the Government's willingness to comply with the terms of competition policy, what effect do you anticipate the competition guidelines will have on some of our more highly regulated services such as ACTION buses, taxis, Totalcare and the gaming industry? Will your Government be initiating a review of these and other services, and when will those reviews take place?
MS CARNELL: All legislation has to be reviewed under national competition policy and all services that are a monopoly have to be reviewed also. So the answer to the question - will we be reviewing all of our services that are monopolies? - is yes. We will be reviewing them under the legislation that was brought down by the Federal Labor Government and signed by Rosemary Follett.
The basis of the Belconnen pool decision is very important because where we go to from here is to get an independent consultant to actually assess the project now under national competition policy requirements, and that means looking at the issues of public benefit. That is the process that is under way, Mr Speaker. That is what was recommended by the complaints mechanism and we will be taking that approach. In fact, I think in the capital works program that was referred to the Urban Services Committee this morning there is money in the budget for that process.
MR OSBORNE: I have a supplementary question. I thank the Chief Minister. My question was not really about the pool. Chief Minister, what I was really looking for from you was this: Do you fear for the future of ACTION buses, do you fear for the future of Aerial Taxis, do you fear for the future of Totalcare, given what has happened, especially in the last few months, in regard to the milk industry and all those other issues?
MS CARNELL: What it means is that those particular services will continue as a monopoly only if they can show demonstrated community benefit. That is very appropriate because if there is not demonstrated
MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, you confirmed in question time earlier today that the Government's position on land development is that joint ventures are not the preferred model for land development. Can you also confirm, Chief Minister, that it is the Government's preferred position that if joint ventures are to be progressed it should be by public tender?
MS CARNELL: That is not necessarily the case at all. The Government's view is that, after the absolute disaster of the joint ventures that were entered into by the previous Labor Government and the huge exposure of the ACT taxpayer to extraordinarily unnecessary expense, joint ventures were not and are not the preferred approach. There needs to be a good reason for going down the path of a joint venture. The position of the previous Government was to go down the path of joint ventures and the path of public tender. So what you are talking about is your policy. Our policy is that joint ventures should not happen unless there is a very good reason for them to do so.