Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 2623 ..
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I am advised that Mr Mackay wrote to the chair of the Estimates Committee earlier this week and indicated that ACTEW's submission to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Commissioner did contain information that would be of commercial advantage to competitors. I am advised that in this letter Mr Mackay offered to provide the Estimates Committee with a copy of ACTEW's submission, on the understanding that it remained confidential within that committee. This was to ensure that confidential information, such as ACTEW's margins and the actual price that it pays for its electricity, was not disclosed publicly. As members would realise, the release of this information would place ACTEW at a commercial disadvantage. Mr Speaker, I would like to repeat that there was no direction by me to ACTEW not to release the submission. That is the reason why I did not know that this letter had gone out, Mr Speaker.
Mr Corbell: You had no discussion with John Mackay?
MS CARNELL: That is right, no discussion. That is the reason why I did not know that this letter had gone out. But Mr Corbell did. Mr Corbell knew when he asked that question that Mr Mackay had already offered a confidential briefing.
Mr Stanhope: What exactly is the point here?
MR SPEAKER: I have no idea, Mr Stanhope; that is the point.
MS CARNELL: I have no idea what they are talking about, Mr Speaker. The fact is that the committee has already been offered a briefing on that particular submission, on the basis that it stays confidential.
MR SMYTH: I have some information for Mr Hird. Mr Moore has now informed me that there were some 500,000 needles issued last year, 66 per cent of which were returned to the distribution outlets. So, if my staff are picking up about 7,500 of those issued, it means that about 11/2 per cent of needles issued are discarded, which would indicate that the rest are being disposed of in an appropriate manner. I think that is a tremendous outcome for some of the education programs that we have had.
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, Mr Wood asked yesterday about urgent repairs to government properties, and I have some information for him. ACT Housing has a set budget for repairs and maintenance in 1998-99 and receives a large number of requests. There will never be sufficient funds available to meet the expectation of amenity by our tenants. Consequently, maintenance requests are evaluated and prioritised against the criteria of health, safety and security. Funds are allocated to urgent repairs that meet the criteria, and the work is arranged to be carried out as soon as possible.