Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1470 ..
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, earlier this week Mr Osborne asked the Urban Services Minister whether the Government was considering selling the ACT Survey Office. Mr Smyth indicated that he understood that there was talk of a staff buyout and that he would get more information for Mr Osborne. As Totalcare falls in my portfolio area, Mr Speaker, I will give that information.
The survey business has been an element of Totalcare Industries Ltd since the transfer of the survey function to Totalcare on 1 January 1997. As members will be aware, Totalcare is a Territory-owned corporation with an independent board of management. I am advised that yesterday or the day before Totalcare management received a proposal from the majority of survey staff for a staff buyout of the survey business. I understand that Totalcare management is examining the proposal and that it has not yet been considered by the Totalcare board. The Totalcare board has considered the commercial viability of the survey business and has determined that it was not viable within the corporate structure. Totalcare management has been considering various options and in this context has received an expression of interest from a group of staff interested in taking over the business following a consultative process involving the AMWU.
The Government is not considering any proposal to sell the survey business on the open market. Such consideration would only occur if the company requested the voting shareholders to give their approval for the sale in accordance with the provisions of the TOC Act. Of course, Mr Speaker, members of this Assembly would have to be involved as well. If the voting shareholders thought the sale was in the best interest of the company in the broader ACT community, then, in accordance with the requirement of the TOC Act, the agreement of the Legislative Assembly would also be sought. I am sure members of this Assembly would not, as a matter of policy, stand in the way of a staff buyout.
Mr Humphries: Mr Berry might.
MS CARNELL: Mr Berry might, by the sound of things, even if the staff want to buy it.
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, there was a question from Mr Kaine earlier this week asking whether any person acting for the ACT Government and involved in negotiation of the contract with J. Walter Thompson was paid any fee for doing so. He also asked whether any person working on the side of the Government in negotiations with J. Walter Thompson was paid any fee for being involved in those negotiations, and if so, who was paid and how much. Mr Kaine also asked me how much the licence fee was up to on, I think, the day the question was asked.