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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2167 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

I have seen in my time some fairly poor financial cases put forward, but this one has to rate at the bottom of the scale. We have talked about whether this business is profitable. I have seen in the material that has come to me in the last couple of days - in briefings that we have had and in written material that we have got - profit figures ranging from $815 to $118,000, to $288,000, to $336,000, to $400,000.

Ms Carnell: But you know how they all work because you are an accountant. Even I understand.

MR QUINLAN: You have not brought to this place a case that would then pass on to the people of Canberra so that they would know that you have been responsible in the disposal or otherwise of their assets.

Ms Carnell: You had the independent auditors before.

MR QUINLAN: I have seen from a briefing in March, through subsequent briefings, through a letter from Bruce Glanville, estimates of the work it does for ACTEW, core business, ranging from 8 to 15, to 25, to 27 per cent.

Ms Carnell: It depends on which bit you are talking about.

MR QUINLAN: It is either work for the ACTEW group or it is not. The word "ideological" has been used and has flowed from that side of the house, but you have not brought a case that you could actually take out onto London Circuit and say, "There you are, people of Canberra. We have done a reasonable deal for you". You have just said, "We ought to sell it". I do not think that is good enough. It is being quite arrogant, but not good enough. This exercise would, if it goes through, reduce the staff of ACTEW by something like 4 or 5 per cent.

We have heard from you that it will be more viable if it is unencumbered by corporate overheads of ACTEW as a whole. What that means in reverse, of course, is that we have reduced the size of ACTEW by that amount and we have encumbered the rest of ACTEW with that diseconomy of scale so that, in fact, if there is a benefit that accrues from this exercise to this function then there will be a disbenefit passed by diseconomy of scale through to the electricity, water and sewerage customers of ACTEW generally. Is that part of the case? Did you bring that case? No. I would expect now, as you know - - -

Ms Carnell: Because it is bullshit.

Mr Corbell: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Ms Carnell: I withdraw.

MR CORBELL: I ask the Chief Minister to withdraw the term she just used.

Ms Carnell: I just did.

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