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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3134 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

They are asking us to trust them absolutely, even though nowhere else in the world has an effective regulatory regime of the nature being proposed by the Government been put into place. That, Mr Speaker, I believe is something that this side of the house cannot accept. That is why we proposed to have the regulatory regime in place - so that issues such as consumer protection mechanisms, fair and just price setting mechanisms, adequate service standards and an adequate level of maintenance of system infrastructure could be addressed.

Today in the Assembly the Chief Minister tabled a statement of regulatory intent for utilities in the ACT. This, I believe, would have been the perfect opportunity to have had this document considered by the select committee. At least the Government has been prepared to outline a statement of its intent in relation to regulation. But a select committee, with terms of reference dealing with this statement of regulatory intent, would have been able to look into it more closely, test the assumptions in it, test the assertions in it and see whether it is actually going to do what the Government says it is going to do. Unfortunately, it would appear that we are going to be denied that opportunity.

That, Mr Speaker, is more than unfortunate; I think it is wrong. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, some investigation and some testing through the public light of an inquiry into the Government's claims about superannuation commitments and the solution of selling ACTEW are better than nothing. But I hope that, later on in this Assembly, when we reach a decision on the sale of ACTEW, this investigation will have shown not only that the superannuation commitments question was one which the Government had put forward as a furphy to justify its privatisation decision, but also that a range of other issues have to be taken into account before a member can vote in favour of the sale of ACTEW Corporation. I would hope that that would become evident through this committee's investigations.

So, whilst we do not get the perfect structure, or perhaps even a halfway adequate structure, we at least get that inquiry. We can at least get that inquiry under way and we can start to dispel some of the propositions that we have heard from the other side of the chamber.

MR OSBORNE (6.30): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move together the three amendments circulated in my name.

Leave granted.


(1) Paragraph (1), omit paragraphs 1(e) to 1(f) inclusive.

(2) Paragraph (2), omit "by 3 pm on Thursday, 19 November 1998", substitute "within 10 minutes of the motion to establish the select committee being agreed to".

(3) Paragraph (3), omit the words "in relation to the sale of ACTEW", substitute "on the final ownership aspect of ACTEW".

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