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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (26 May) . . Page.. 559 ..

MS CARNELL: I do not think we have, Mr Speaker.

Mr Humphries: And what processes were followed?

MS CARNELL: What processes? We cannot have had a process if we have not made that decision from a Cabinet perspective. Mr Speaker, that decision has not gone to Cabinet. I have to say that the complaints unit is quite able to make recommendations to government.

MS TUCKER: I have a supplementary question. If it has not been a decision of the Government but the complaints unit thinks that it has, will the Chief Minister give an undertaking to clarify the position of the Government on this with the complaints unit?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I do not think the complaints unit thinks that that is the case, but I am certainly willing to clarify the situation. I think everybody is very well aware - - -

Mr Stanhope: It does. The whole report is based on that assumption.


MS CARNELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I think everyone is very well aware that when the complaints unit gets a complaint of this nature it must investigate it. Under national competition policy, under the agreement that was signed by those opposite and put forward by a Federal Labor government, that is a requirement of the process. The forum looked at the issues involved and recommended to the Government that a detailed feasibility study should be undertaken, including reference to all of the factors involved in making a major capital works decision, including both competitive neutrality impacts in the marketplace and also the financial returns that might be expected from an investment of this scale. I think that is a quite reasonable approach, and I have to say it is the approach the Government is going to take.

At this stage, Mr Speaker, the project, as we have said, is on hold, but it is certainly not cancelled. What we are doing is following the recommendations of the report. If we do not we could have our competition policy payments endangered. Some people in this Assembly do not care about that. It is obvious that they have never put together a budget in the ACT, because that amount of money is extraordinarily important to the ACT. The Belconnen pool is a $15m project. It is clearly significant business. Surely, Mr Speaker, it is significant business by anybody's measure. I do not know that Ms Tucker was trying to suggest that somehow the Belconnen pool was not significant business. Yes, the ACT Government looks at everything from a competitive neutrality perspective for significant business reasons, because if we do not our payments may be at risk. But that does not mean that we look at every single thing that government does.

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