Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1649 ..
Statement by Speaker
MR SPEAKER: Members, last Wednesday Mr Corbell sought to make a personal explanation relating to comments made in the Assembly earlier that day by the Chief Minister in answer to a question without notice. The subject of the question was investments made by the Business Development Fund. I did not permit Mr Corbell to proceed at that stage. I have now examined the relevant proof Hansard record of the proceedings, as indeed I promised. I have also examined the joint additional comments of Mr Berry and Mr Corbell appended to the report of the Select Committee on Estimates of 1998-99. Having considered these documents, I will allow Mr Corbell, if he so wishes, now to proceed with his personal explanation. No doubt you will have the opportunity during the debate, Mr Corbell.
Discussion of Matter of Public Importance
MR SPEAKER: I have received a letter from Mr Corbell proposing that a matter of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion, namely:
The failure of the ACT Government to provide for an independent and impartial analysis of the current and future operations of the ACTTAB.
MR CORBELL (3.52): Thank you, Mr Speaker, and thank you for your confirmation of my point of order that I took last week, much to the Government's chagrin, I am sure. Mr Speaker, the subject of the MPI we are debating this afternoon is an important issue. It is a matter which every person in Canberra should be concerned about. They should be concerned about it because we are talking about the future prospects of the assets that are owned by the people of Canberra - assets worth, in some instances, over a billion dollars; but, in relation to ACTTAB, assets valued at at least $20m.
You would expect that when we are making any assessment about the future operation of ACTTAB, and, indeed, prospects for privatisation or otherwise, we would examine closely exactly what the circumstances were surrounding these organisations. You expect that a government that commissioned an inquiry, a review or a report into the future prospects of this sort of organisation would be prepared to accept a rigorous and close scrutiny of the situation that the organisation currently confronts, and would be prepared to accept a scrutiny which focused on whether or not it was appropriate to maintain these assets in public ownership.
Mr Speaker, that is not what we have seen from this Government in relation to ACTTAB. What we have seen from this Government in relation to ACTTAB is the commissioning of a report which gave the Government the answer it wanted. There is no doubt that this Government went into this debate some months ago, in fact, well before the election,