Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3210 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
small business customers? Also, is the Chief Minister aware of the latest Yellow Pages small business index findings, which show that 68 per cent of small businesses surveyed in the ACT are opposed to the privatisation of electricity and water services, which is the highest level of opposition in Australia, and that only 18 per cent are in favour, the lowest level of support in the country?
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, the Yellow Pages small business index is a monthly survey of small businesses employing 19 or fewer people. Every month only 100 ACT businesses are surveyed. Due to the very small sample, the results tend to - - -
Mr Corbell: They are wrong too?
MS CARNELL: Have you read the rest of that report? I am very happy to go into the rest of the report. Due to the very small sample size, the results tend to fluctuate significantly from month to month. It is also important to note that the survey does not mention ACTEW as such.
A more accurate indication of the business community's support for the sale of ACTEW could be found in statements made by the two major business peak bodies in the ACT.
Mr Quinlan: What a surprise.
MR SPEAKER: Stop anticipating please and be quiet. Someone is going to get warned very shortly and then the next step of course will be for me to name them. I will be happy to do that. It will be most unfortunate for any votes coming up.
Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I have to press the point. It really is very rude to be jumping in, quite apart from being a serious breach of parliamentary standing orders.
MR SPEAKER: I cannot enforce courtesy, Mr Humphries, only standing orders.
Mr Humphries: I do not ask you to, Mr Speaker, but there are standing orders which cover this comprehensively.
MR SPEAKER: Indeed. I can do it with standing orders.
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, as I said, it would be significantly more sensible to look at the statements made by two major business peak bodies in the ACT with significantly greater membership than 100. The chief executive of the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Peters, was asked on ABC radio, "Are you saying that from your point of view the only answer to the survival of ACTEW and to ensure that domestic users are not paying higher electricity prices is the privatisation and sale of ACTEW?". Mr Peters' response was quite simply: "Yes, I am saying that". The Chamber of Commerce represents 1,400 businesses in the ACT. The Canberra Business Council has also supported the sale. In a media release issued by the council on 10 November 1998 the council says: