Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3252 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
Mr Rugendyke will not support this extra day of sitting and will wait until this committee has reported. It is a short enough period of time. It is almost a ridiculous length of time when you look at the work involved in coming up with this modelling for other ways of dealing with the superannuation liability, but we are committed to trying to do that by February. It is no credit at all to the Government if they try to pre-empt the work of that committee.
On the issue of a regulatory framework, which does come up a lot in the Government's arguments, my concern is that we are being told by the Government that they have the ability to create a regulatory framework which will address all the concerns that people have been raising and which I have listed already. Why on earth would we have confidence in the Government's ability to do that? They have not shown that they have the ability to implement a purchaser-provider model in the ACT. They are all over the shop with it. They produced finally, after discontent in the community, a report on how to actually implement purchaser-provider which is basically around these issues. It is about how you specify quality of service in a contract, how you specify particular services that used to be delivered by government or the community sector, and how you turn that into economic output successfully, still taking into account the quality issue which is so important to the delivery of those services. They do not know how to do it. They produced a report. The report's recommendations were not taken on seriously by the Government and now we have Mr Quinlan's committee looking at that. They have not been able to do that with the purchaser-provider split. But still we are told, "It's fine; we will get this right". So we look around Australia and we think, "Has anyone else got it right?". No.
We did ask the consultants what they thought the problem was there. "Why do you think no-one has got it right?", we asked. The consultants said, "Because people did it too fast". Well, we are getting this done in two months or something. We are supposed to pass legislation and have faith that this Government will produce a regulatory framework that will deal with all the issues. If they want to have the support of this Assembly to sell ACTEW they need to produce a regulatory framework first, and they need us to look at it and say, "Okay, we are reassured. Now let's have the debate on whether or not to sell ACTEW". But no, of course, we do not get that respect from this Government.
There are other issues particularly around this proposal, of course, which are to do with the fact that they are putting water issues into it. These raise particular and different concerns. The ABN AMRO report did not separate the issues. If the Government had gone to the public discussions that I have gone to they would realise that it is of particular concern to the community that water is being dumped in like that with this general sale proposal. I was interested to see that there are comments on that in this Australia Institute report which support the various experts who have spoken about water at those forums.
There are other concerns about the Bill as well. I have proposed amendments which I will certainly be putting to this Bill if it gets to that point, although I understand the debate is going to be adjourned today. There is a certain arrogance that is obvious in this Bill in terms of the lack of any disallowance mechanisms. It is also interesting how the Bill