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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (2 February) . . Page.. 20 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

they were in no way related. Superannuation is one thing - it is a budgetary matter - the sale of ACTEW is another. They were never directly related, although the Chief Minister - - -

Mr Moore: They are both budgetary matters. That is how they are connected.

MR KAINE: Now the master of economics, Mr Moore, is having his say too. He can get up and contribute to the debate, if he is capable of doing so. I support the report. I simply suggest that the Assembly adopt it and place some onus on the Government to have another look at their figures.

MR HIRD: Under standing order 46, I wish to make a personal explanation.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hird, proceed.

MR HIRD: Mr Kaine knows, and the chairman also knows - and I commend the chairman for it - that the committee used experts. Mr Kaine just maligned me by saying that I was a master of economics. He is a professor of mirrors, if anything. I think it does little for Mr Kaine's credibility. We do have experts to give us information.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (11.49): Mr Speaker, I begin my comments today by saying that I have always been reluctant to look at the sale of ACTEW; but, on the evidence presented to me, I think in the end it is the right decision to make. Mr Kaine said that in some ways we would be shocked at an alternative view. I have to say to you, Mr Kaine - and I think you know it to be true - that I welcome alternative views and have always welcomed alternative views. But I will say that if we are looking to the alternative view put by the committee under recommendation 9, for example, where it attempts to minimise the net impact on the budget on the one hand and utilise the income stream from ACTEW to contribute to the unfunded liability, we have a problem, Mr Kaine, because we are already using that $40m in the budget. The immediate effect of that is to cut $40m from our budget. That is the immediate effect of that and that is something that we would have to look at.

Mr Kaine: When are you going to fix your health budget, Minister?

MR MOORE: I take the interjection. I am working on it, Mr Kaine, and I will continue to work on it very hard; but I have to say to you that the strains will be much greater because my options will be reduced if the decision is made by the Assembly today to do what we decided to do and what changed everything; that is, to address the superannuation liability.

This Assembly said - Mr Osborne said, I said and others said - prior to the last election that we should address the superannuation liability. I also said that we should address the operating loss. When we said that, we changed the debate, and that is what is different between the last set of budgets and these budgets. We are interested in doing that. That is why it is that, when you seek to do that, your options are limited. The committee has put up some options. As I read them, they simply will not work. Mrs Carnell has explained why they will not work and has put them in the "She'll be right; don't worry about it" category for taking us into the future.

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