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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 3368 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

What, then, is the basis for your advice that in our case 50 years is appropriate - three times, four times, or even five times what is the norm in the one country in the world where franchising is commonly practised?

MS CARNELL: I accept Mr Kaine's comments with regard to 50 years. It is a long time and it is certainly something that the Government is looking at. In terms of the consultations that we are involved in at the moment, we are very interested in the input already from members of the Assembly. I think Mr Rugendyke has made his point clear on this issue; he believes that it should be for a shorter period. That is something that the Government is more than willing to look at.

As we said when we tabled the statement of regulatory intent, it is a document that is open to negotiations, shall we say, and to community input. If the community believes that 50 years is too long, the Government will certainly look at that very seriously. I think that the input that we have had from ABN AMRO, from entities in France and from companies that have been involved in this area for a long time indicates that a timeframe somewhat longer than 15 years would be appropriate and certainly would maximise the return to government while still allowing us to ensure that those assets are being properly maintained.

It is important to remember that at the end of the franchise period, whatever that franchise period would be, we would go back to the market for a new operator. That new operator obviously would have access to the pipes under national competition policy, so comments made earlier that somehow a new franchisee would not have access to the pipes is simply ridiculous. National access codes, competition policy and competition agreements obviously would guarantee that. I take Mr Kaine's comments on board and would appreciate his input to the consultation process.

Belconnen Remand Centre - Inquest

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Attorney-General. Is the Attorney-General aware of yesterday's adjournment, for the third time, of an inquest into the death in February of an inmate of the Belconnen Remand Centre? Can the Attorney-General confirm that the coroner was critical of delays in the inquest brought about by a lack of cooperation by ACT Corrective Services? Did the coroner say that he "will not have this investigation kidnapped by the Executive and public servants of the ACT"?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, to the best of my knowledge, yes, that is what the coroner said. I have heard a report of what was said in the Coroners Court. I have asked for a full report on that. When I have that I will certainly take it up with Corrective Services. The initial briefing I have received is to the effect that the information provided by Corrective Services to the coroner was provided not by way of some kind of summons or writ requiring information to be provided on a compulsory basis, but rather as a courtesy to the inquest. Obviously the coroner was critical of the fact that it was provided in the timeframe that it was.

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