Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (2 February) . . Page.. 3 ..
Ms Carnell: Sorry; you put it in.
MR QUINLAN: He said publicly, effectively, that the use of conservative figures is not a crime. He also implied that it is not necessarily the full picture that this Assembly, that represents the people of Canberra, deserves to receive. The committee is concerned that the whole picture was not given and the figures used by government were not qualified as conservative, only repeated and repeated. It is very important at this moment to bear in mind the comments of Dr Clive Hamilton, who referred to figures being wantonly manipulated by government.
Mrs Carnell and Mr Hird, in his erudite dissension, went on record quoting the Australian Government Actuary's report where apparently he is alleged to have said that figures could be $80m understated. In delivering that figure, Mrs Carnell and Mr Hird have forgotten to include the Australian Government Actuary's qualification that this was based on the assumption, for the sake of argument and for the sake of further discussion, that other Towers Perrin figures were accurate. He had already qualified them. This was a little stuff-up on top of the previous stuff-up. But let us give the Australian Government Actuary the last word. His last paragraph in his report says:
It is important to note that this report has been largely based on information supplied to AGA, and in particular, on information contained in the Towers Perrin reports and supplied by Towers Perrin to us. As has been mentioned earlier, we have concerns about some of the information supplied. As we have used this information, our report has to be qualified in this regard. Given our concerns, the Committee may wish to consider whether Towers Perrin should be requested to double check the appropriate figures or that an independent check be carried out on the relevant figures.
Is that pretty plain?
I turn to term of reference No. 1(b), the efficacy of the one-off funding option. It is no secret to anybody that that is the sale of ACTEW. We do not know exactly when the project started but the public debate started with the Fay Richwhite report, which talked about risk, risk, and more risk. Since that time, after considerable debate, there is general agreement that the risk, the real risk, is confined to the market exposure in the electrical retail arm of ACTEW. I have, over the last couple of months, had words put in my mouth that say I want to sell that arm of ACTEW. I have never said that. I have said that the Government is responsible for managing that risk. In fact, I can see within that area of ACTEW a business opportunity if we ever get back to the stage of wanting to run ACTEW in a positive fashion. There is a business opportunity there for ACTEW to provide meter reading services, front-end services for other retailers.
Ms Carnell: Sorry; they provide all the front-end services now.