Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 364 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
Mr Speaker, I believe it is fundamental to a healthy democracy that a government is prepared to have its planning decisions questioned by the public. This Bill is an important part of the process of establishing a legal mechanism for keeping the government honest and publicly accountable in the way it handles planning matters in the ACT. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned.
MR CORBELL (10.51): Mr Speaker, I present the Territory Owned Corporations (Amendment) Bill 1998.
Title read by Clerk.
MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, it is with great pleasure today that I introduce into the Assembly the Territory Owned Corporations (Amendment) Bill 1998. This is a very important piece of legislation and we certainly hope that members of the Assembly will see fit to support what is, in principle, a proposal which brings greater power to the Assembly, and thus to the people of Canberra, in decisions affecting assets that they own, notably Territory-owned corporations.
Mr Speaker, I would like to briefly outline to the Assembly what this Bill does. The purpose of my Bill is to amend the Territory Owned Corporations Act to make provision for a number of things. First, and most importantly, it makes provision for amendments to the Territory Owned Corporations Act 1990 to provide that whenever a decision is made, or before a decision is made, by the Government or by shareholders of a Territory-owned corporation to dispose of or sell any main undertaking of a Territory-owned corporation, or enter into any transaction, contract or understanding whereby a company ceases to be a subsidiary of a Territory-owned corporation, that decision must meet with the approval, by resolution, of the Legislative Assembly.
Secondly, Mr Speaker, it makes provision for a special majority if the Assembly deigns to put in place a special majority in relation to a vote on a motion to dispose of a Territory-owned corporation. This provision, Mr Speaker, the Labor Party believes, is very important. The provision means that if this Assembly decides that a Territory-owned corporation should be sold, or any of its main undertakings disposed of, or any subsidiary company of a Territory-owned corporation disposed of, there should be genuine bipartisan support in this place for that to take place. Privatisation, part or whole, is a decision that any government can make only once. Once you sell an asset it is gone forever. For that reason, there should be genuine bipartisan support for the disposal of assets that are held in trust by the government on behalf of the people of Canberra.