Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1662 ..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
There are some things that the report does not include that I would have expected it to include. The report identifies that the TAB may be at risk because it might not get access to larger pools. In fact, when you distil it, that is the only risk it identifies. Does the report at any point really canvass ACTTAB entering into long-term arrangements and securing the availability of a pool? No.
Does the report identify the possibility that the Victorian and New South Wales TABs, particularly, might be prepared to do a long-term deal because they do not want a foreign competitor, like NZ TAB or anybody else, coming into the ACT, an island in New South Wales, and setting up the beginnings of very solid competition? There is leverage which may or may not be useable, but it is not even identified or canvassed in this report. It gives very scant regard to those options. The report is flawed because, as you read it, you can see, right from page one, that they want to end up with a recommendation to sell ACTTAB.
This report claims, to some extent, that people are beating down our door to buy ACTTAB. There is a list of potential purchasers in here, including the Burswood Casino. One of the members of the ACT media rang Burswood Casino at about the time this report came out and they said, "What are you talking about?". They did not know because they had not even considered the option. Then again, I suppose there is a distinct possibility that that paragraph was left over from the Northern Territory job and they just missed it in the cut-and-paste process. So we are not really sure whether all of those people listed in the report were in the Northern Territory report and were interested, and were just missed in the cut-and-paste job, or whether they were invented; but someone has been ascribed as being interested in ACTTAB, and they did not have a clue.
As Mr Corbell has pointed out, this report contains no reference to the public benefit. It does not contain any reference to secondary impacts. It does not contain any reference to job loss; it only talks about possible job expansion. It does not talk about the secondary effects in the ACT economy if we lose those jobs, as do a number of the reports that are coming forward. There is no secondary measure as to what we lose. Every now and then we get a positive measure. I think the Government claims 0.8. So if we took a half of one per cent off that Racing Development Fund, 70 jobs, we would have to multiply that by 1.8 and something in the order of 126, I think.
The people of Canberra whose assets are up for sale deserve objectivity, and they deserve the unchallengeable appearance of objectivity in the reports they receive. They have not got it in this process.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (4.42): I want to make a few quick points here. Mr Corbell made the allegation that the Liberal Party has commissioned this report, and, indeed, a number of other reports, to fulfil an ideological concern that it has to privatise particular public assets.