Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3131 ..
MR BERRY (6.14): Mr Speaker, I move:
That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent the order of the day No. 1, Assembly business, relating to the establishment of a Select Committee on the Territory's Superannuation Commitments being called on forthwith.
Mr Speaker, this is a matter that has been the subject of negotiations with the Government and others and it is agreed to. Accordingly, I commend the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative, with the concurrence of an absolute majority.
MR RUGENDYKE (6.15): Mr Speaker, this motion to appoint a select committee to investigate the Territory's superannuation commitments is on the right track. Since privatising ACTEW first appeared on the Government's agenda, at least publicly, the black hole which is the superannuation liability has been the chief selling pitch. Just how big is that black hole? If we do not dump all the proceeds of an ACTEW sale into that black hole as a stopgap measure, does it really have the potential to terrorise the Territory forever? I would like to know the full extent of the problem and I would like to know whether there are any alternatives to selling ACTEW to manage the unfunded superannuation liability.
This motion does address the superannuation problem in a satisfactory manner. I would like the Assembly to be able to obtain a clear picture of what the superannuation liability actually is, where it is at and whether or not it is beyond our control. I need to know whether the growing debt of the unfunded superannuation is going to be as crippling as it has been described and whether there is another way of solving the problem, without selling ACTEW. If it becomes apparent that there is no alternative to selling ACTEW and funding the superannuation debt, then I would find it very difficult not to support the sale. So I commend the motion to the Assembly and trust that we will be able to get on with the job.
MS TUCKER (6.18): The Greens will be supporting this motion to set up a committee to look at the Territory's superannuation commitments. Apart from the fact that it is obviously an issue which requires careful consideration, it is an issue which has become highly politicised in recent months. Obviously, I would have preferred to have seen my own motion to set up a committee supported, as it would have included the issues covered by this committee but, as well, would have addressed the other significant issues related to the sale of ACTEW.