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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 3357 ..

Mr Quinlan: You have to know that because that is what you are committing for. It is part of the decision that they have taken. I strongly object to that point of order.

MR SPEAKER: I uphold the Chief Minister's point of order.

ACTEW - Sale

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I am glad that the Chief Minister does not care about anything that happens in this place beyond when she is a member. My question is to the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister has repeatedly asserted that the sale of ACTEW must occur as soon as possible because there will soon be other utilities on the market. The Chief Minister has said that the sale price will drop dramatically if other utilities in other States are for sale and she has given that as her major reason for pushing this process to completion over the concerns of many members of this place. As the Chief Minister would know very well, there is every indication that the South Australian electricity utility is well off the sale agenda for quite some time. She would also be aware that the new Liberal leader in New South Wales, Ms Chikarovski, has made comments in recent days which seem to indicate a change in position for the privatisation of electricity in that State, which will have implications for the market.

Mr Hargreaves: Before an election.

MR CORBELL: Before an election. At least she is honest, Mr Speaker. Will the Chief Minister acknowledge that the tide is turning on privatisation, as other jurisdictions realise that the evidence is that privatisation costs the public in terms of service, access and equity, in terms of environmental protection, and in terms of long-term damage to public sector economies? Will the Chief Minister at least acknowledge that there is no rush and will the Chief Minister now allow a full, open and considered process of dealing with the issues the community want addressed before any decision is made to privatise ACTEW?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I come back to comments about Mr Corbell's questions. They are so long and ask so many different questions. I am happy to answer a bit of the question. I am happy to answer all of it, but it is just impossible.

MR SPEAKER: If members wish to ask long and detailed questions, it is their fault if they do not receive a response to all parts of it.

MS CARNELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I could not agree with you more. The Auditor-General, in his report yesterday, said that, if ACTEW is to be sold, as the selling price is likely to reduce in the future the more appropriate course would be to sell earlier - - -

Mr Corbell: Yes, but what about ETSA? ETSA is off the market.

MR SPEAKER: Be quiet, Mr Corbell. You have asked your question in some detail.

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