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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1506 ..

Mr Kaine: You do not know much about what is going on in your organisation, do you?

MS CARNELL: She has not.

ACTEW - Capital Repatriation

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. In your budget you have justified the capital repatriation from ACTEW as following the recommendations of the Select Committee on the Territory's Superannuation Commitments. Why, then, did you not adopt other recommendations or why did you not credit those international economists ABN AMRO for the initiative, given that they were the first to suggest its possibility? While you are up, will you concede that in the space of two years you have provided to the superannuation fund nothing - I repeat, nothing - other than the $300m from ACTEW and the little bit of interest that it has actually accumulated itself?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, over the last two years we have tried very hard to fully fund our unfunded superannuation scheme. Unfortunately, this Assembly stopped us doing it, Mr Speaker. The option of taking $300m from ACTEW to help fund superannuation liabilities is a second-best option from the Government's point of view - we have made that point the whole way through - but is entirely consistent with the recommendations of the Assembly committee. The committee modelled 10 alternative options to the Government's preferred option of investing the lion's share of the proceeds from the sale of ACTEW in superannuation. All 10 of the committee's options involved a capital repatriation from ACTEW in 1999-2000. Mr Speaker, all 10 of the committee's options involved a capital repatriation, as I said, in this year, varying between $250m and $400m.

The committee specifically recommended that the Government develop a strategy which, at a minimum, included a repatriation from ACTEW to increase the current SPU coverage to above 30 per cent. The proposed capital repatriation of $300m will increase the superannuation provision account coverage to 50 per cent of the total superannuation liability. So, Mr Speaker, not only have we complied with increasing the current SPU coverage to above 30 per cent; we have taken it to 50 per cent.

Mr Quinlan will say, "Why haven't you utilised the income stream from ACTEW" - this is your supplementary; I will answer it now so that you will not have a supplementary - "to contribute towards the unfunded liability?". Mr Speaker, the reason for that is that the income stream from ACTEW is being used for health, education, community services, police and service provision. I am more than happy to use that income stream for the superannuation provision account if Mr Quinlan in his supplementary question will tell me which service he would like cut to enable us to do that.

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, my supplementary question, then, is: Why have you not at least allowed the superannuation provision to increase by $300m plus the interest earned in the year? And what ever happened to the $200m over four years commitment you made way back - one year ago?

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