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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (20 April) . . Page.. 976 ..

MR SPEAKER: Order, please! The Chief Minister is about to try to answer Mr Berry's question.

MS CARNELL: As soon as those opposite are quiet, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, indeed.

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, Mr Mackay did that interview before he started with ACTEW.

Mr Stanhope: He had been appointed.

MR SPEAKER: Order! You will not get an answer if you keep interjecting.

MS CARNELL: He did that interview a month before he started with ACTEW. It was done in 1997. I know it has escaped those opposite, but I do not think it has escaped the crossbenchers, that the electricity market has changed a lot. It has something to do with a national grid and significant competition in the market.

Mr Corbell: And that was not around in 1997?

MR SPEAKER: Order, please! We have plenty of time for question time. We can go on all afternoon if necessary.

MS CARNELL: The market has changed significantly. Mr Mackay is now very well aware of the issues that surround ACTEW. Those opposite who believe that this is a direction from me or the Government should again have a look at the press release put out by ACTEW recently that spelt out chronologically what has happened since early last year when the board wrote to me and suggested to me that we should investigate the sale of ACTEW.

That particular chronology ran through the direction that the board has taken the whole way through this approach. The board is empowered, is required by legislation passed in this place, to take control over the running of ACTEW. There is no doubt that the board, certainly supported by the Government, is doing an extremely good job in ensuring that ACTEW maintains its asset base, maintains its return to the ACT Government and continues to look to ways they can minimise risk.

Members of this place - in fact, just about everybody apart from those opposite - have made it clear that they believe we should be looking at strategic partners or mergers. They have said it in the media or in this place. It is only those opposite who simply cannot come to grips with the fact that this is a government that will not sit on its hands, that will work with New South Wales Labor and that will come up with an approach for ACTEW that does minimise risk, that does not just do what those opposite want us to do and let ACTEW slowly die.

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