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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3133 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

community have not had enough time or opportunity to have input; that the government-commissioned reports are inadequate and flawed; and that, basically, political brinkmanship will be the primary motivating factor for the process and, unfortunately, I am sorry to say, the vote.

We have already wasted time anyway. Mr Osborne or Mr Rugendyke could easily have amended my motion and we would have been well under way. Having said that, I do believe that this is better than nothing. It would be a useful inquiry, obviously. But I will conclude by saying that I think it is very disappointing at this point to have seen how, basically, the Government and those who support it have really obstructed a process which would have allowed a much more comprehensive and balanced look at the issues. There is no way you can say that you have looked at these issues if all you have done is focus on the issue of the superannuation commitment and the sale of ACTEW. If you are interested in an actual cost-benefit analysis of this proposal, you must look equally carefully at the other consequences of selling ACTEW. Sure, you will make the money from selling ACTEW, but what will you lose? That is what the community wants members of this place to look at and understand, and I am afraid that we will not have that opportunity.

MR CORBELL (6.23): Mr Speaker, I approach this motion with some mixed feelings, and I am sure that my colleagues do as well. We are, of course, pleased that there is finally the opportunity to undertake some examination of the assertions we have heard from the other side of the chamber in relation to the Territory's superannuation commitments and the proposed solution for dealing with those commitments, which is, in the Government's own terms, the sale of ACTEW Corporation. But, Mr Speaker, it is disappointing that we do not have the opportunity to assess the regulatory regime. I see that Mr Osborne has flagged an amendment to remove that from the proposed terms of reference.

Whilst I recognise that these are the conditions that we will have to accept to have this inquiry, they are not the conditions that we believe are the most effective or the most suitable if we are going to effectively address the issue of the Territory's superannuation commitments and the sale of ACTEW as the solution to dealing with those commitments. When it comes down to it, Mr Speaker, the issue of the regulatory regime is central to the Government's justifying its sale of ACTEW.

It is central, because they argue that it is not the ownership model; they argue that it is what sort of regime you have in place to manage the operations of a privately owned energy provider and a franchised water and sewerage provider. They are proposing a world's best practice regime, to use the Chief Minister's words today, which has not been achieved anywhere else within Australia or overseas. They are proposing a regime which is completely untested. They are proposing to draw on other jurisdictions' regimes which are currently under review. They are proposing to sell ACTEW, but they will not allow us to fully scrutinise the regime which will govern the operations of the privatised energy provider.

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