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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1163 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

Secondly, businesses operating in the ACT should ensure they get all their business inputs as cheaply as possible so they remain competitive, in business and employing people in the ACT.

Why should the 74 organisations pay artificially high electricity prices, when lower prices would give them the chance to expand and create more jobs?

Mr Berry's ideological pleading after the event shows how wrong his party was to knock back privatisation.

Mr Speaker, I could not have put it better myself, even if I am quoting from a mob of pseudo pinko lefties. I agree that it is pitiful seeing Mr Berry go down this path. According to ACTEW, it has not had any impact at all, even if Mr Berry did tell Prime TV it had.

Mr Speaker, rather than focusing on the reasons why businesses and the ACTU, a well-known Liberal organisation, of course, have gone interstate for their power, why does not the Labor Party put its collective mind to working out why ACTEW is unable to offer more competitive prices to these organisations? That is the one thing that would make a difference. At the moment, Mr Speaker, the Labor Party's policy on the future of ACTEW seems to be nothing more than to write a lot of letters and to whinge a lot.

How is it, Mr Berry, that you have chosen not to write to all of the existing customers of ACTEW and tell them how the Labor Party is planning to bring the price of electricity down so that they can stay with ACTEW in the future? That would achieve a real outcome, Mr Speaker. The fact is that those opposite have no idea of how they can produce a situation where ACTEW can be competitive in the market.

Mr Speaker, for all those sitting on this side of the chamber, working out the best way to ensure that ACTEW can keep its current clients and can grow in the future is a serious and a time-consuming business. It is something that we do need to have rational debates about in this place. It seems that for those opposite it is just a silly political game, and we have seen it constantly this week. The opposite side of this chamber is simply unwilling to look for a way forward.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question?

MR HIRD: So, Mr Berry not only got it wrong again, he did it 74 times. This is a very serious thing, Mr Speaker. My supplementary is to the Chief Minister and I urge everyone opposite to listen to the answer. How many customers has ACTEW actually lost to interstate electricity providers at this point in time?

Mr Corbell: Sites or customers? Will it include the scoreboard at Bruce Stadium?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, this question is probably easier to answer by talking about the amount of electricity that ACTEW normally sells. Right now - - -

Mr Corbell: We would not want to talk about the scoreboard at Bruce Stadium or the caretaker's cottage.

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