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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2870 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

A one-time hired gun of the NSW Government said that one NSW electricity distributor's bid for a $1.6 billion Victorian rival was placing public money at risk and he suggested the NSW electricity generators were acting uncommercially.

The global head of Deutsche Bank's utilities and energy group, Mr Alan James, told a NSW Upper House inquiry that the public sector could not adequately deal with risks in the current commercial environment and the assets should be privatised.

Mr James worked for the New South Wales Government and, by the way, was feted by them as being a good operator. It seems to me, Mr Speaker, that Mr Quinlan really should take some advice from somebody who worked on the Hogg committee and was regarded as a very good operator. Mr Speaker, the article goes on:

He -

that is, Mr James -

called into question NSW distributor Integral Energy's indicative bid for Victorian rival Citipower and he aired suggestions NSW generators were attempting to increase volumes at the expense of profitability.

"As both an industry professional and a taxpayer I believe the risks are unacceptable from a government perspective," Mr James said.

Mr Speaker, those are the words of the Labor Party's former adviser on electricity, not mine. I hope that Mr Quinlan and those opposite take some heed of these comments that the risks are unacceptable from a government perspective.

MR HIRD: My supplementary question, Mr Speaker, is: Does the Chief Minister believe that the environment in which ACTEW operates is likely to change significantly after the New South Wales elections held in March next year?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I think that is an important question for the ACT because it really makes a difference to ACTEW. It makes a difference because can you imagine a situation where little old ACTEW, one of the littlest distributors in Australia - - -

Mr Corbell: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think Mr Hird's question asked for an expression of the Chief Minister's opinion, and that is quite out of order.

MR SPEAKER: I uphold the point of order.

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