Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2425 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
to the superannuation problem. Taking those two things together, plus a reasonable performance on the part of the Government in making an annual subvention from our budget towards that same purpose, over a period of years, with the interest accumulating every year, that would make a very substantial impact on the unfunded superannuation liability.
The Government has already conceded that selling ACTEW and putting $760m or whatever it is into the superannuation fund, according to the Acting Chief Minister, only solves about half of the problem. That is the way I interpreted what he said in this place the other day.
Mr Speaker, to reiterate, I am not convinced that the Government would be even contemplating selling ACTEW were it not for the superannuation problem. I am not convinced that the Government has considered any reasonable option that might be available to it other than selling it on the terms and conditions that the Chief Minister has put forward. I am not convinced that the timescale that the Chief Minister has put upon this issue is a real one. I think it is an artificial timescale. I see nothing in the market out there that is going to change tomorrow or the next day, or even next month or early next year, that is going to materially alter the sale value of this place if it is determined at the end of the day that sale is the best way to go.
The surrounding environment is not going to change. The New South Wales Government cannot even make up its mind what to do about its assets of a similar nature, and they are the ones that are most likely to impact directly on us. So, if Great Southern Energy and other facilities out there in New South Wales do not change their status, why would we assume, in the short term, that ACTEW is going to be significantly disadvantaged?
There are answers to all of these questions that are in my mind, I am sure, but the Government has not provided them. Since the Government is putting forward this proposal as the only solution to its problems, it has an obligation to explain to me and to you, because you are going to be asked to vote on this issue, whether you agree with the Government's position. Frankly, at the moment I do not. I think more information is required.
My problem with the motion put forward by Ms Tucker for the establishment of a select committee is that I am not certain that we need to wait until next June to get the answers to these questions.
Ms Tucker: We can amend that. We can change that.
MR KAINE: Ms Tucker says I can change that. Yes, I can, but I do not want to make an arbitrary decision about what is a good reporting date for the select committee. Since there is so much information that I need, I do not know how long it would take a select committee to get the answers to all these questions. I think a better solution might be to say to the Government, "We in this place will not even debate this issue until you, the Government, have provided all the information we require in order to be able to make an intelligent decision about the matter". If the Government can do that next week,