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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2202 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

I understand that the Osborne group and Mr Moore are committed to this decision and will support it.

Mr Rugendyke: How do you know that?

MR BERRY: Prove me wrong. I am happy for you to jump up and prove me wrong.

Mr Rugendyke: Tell me why I should.

MR BERRY: I dare you to prove me wrong. But they, too, ought to have taken into account the need to consult adequately with the real owners of this public enterprise. The real owners are not the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister. The real owners are the community, and they have not had much to say about this matter. They have not had much involvement in the process. I think that is a shame, because I think there still needs to be a lot of work done on making out a case which would convince the real owners of this enterprise that it should be sold to anybody.

This is about the Government getting the foot in the door on privatisation; there is no question about that. It has consistently said since 1995 that it has an aim of privatisation. We saw in the last few weeks consistent efforts bob up from time to time.

Mr Smyth: What else have you privatised, Kate?

MR BERRY: Mr Smyth interjects, "What have we privatised?", or something to that effect. We hear that he is calling for expressions of interest in privatising the bus service. So, do not give me the nonsense that that is not your intention and that this is not putting the foot in the door. The real problem that the Government opposite has is that it has not adequately consulted with the real owners of this body - the people of the ACT. It has been very quiet on consultation in relation to that matter. If the crossbenchers support this move today, they too will have supported a short-circuited consultation process to suit the philosophical aims and objectives of this Liberal Government, which has in its sights the privatisation of all GBEs. Let us not forget that. This is not just about Ecowise.

MS TUCKER (4.05): Earlier in the debate Mr Humphries put the criteria that he thought Labor had listed in their conference as necessary to take into consideration on questions of privatisation. I did not catch all of them, but I did notice that he said community benefit, disadvantaged groups and jobs. I think that all of those issues are of concern in this debate. Unlike Mr Humphries, I have heard Labor address those issues in this debate.

Mr Speaker, those of us who are wanting to see ACTEW grow, not diminish, and who are concerned that this Government just want to prove their economic skills and financial responsibility by selling off community-owned assets are naturally suspicious when we see parts of ACTEW being sold. An argument that has been put today is the merits of employee-owned businesses. The Greens are supportive of that in most circumstances.

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