Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1510 ..
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I just answered that. The documents that I tabled yesterday with regard to the loan referred directly to a Cabinet decision that had been taken to verify that loan. It is quite simple. It is there in black and white. It has already been tabled in this place. If Mr Berry does not have a copy of those documents, I am more than happy to send him a copy. It is quite simple.
Mr Berry: So, you did not have a Cabinet decision?
MS CARNELL: No.
MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Budget Paper No. 4 confirms that the Government wrote off a loan of $850,000 to CanDeliver. Can you explain to the Assembly why the Government wrote off the loan?
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that it has taken longer than we would have hoped for CanDeliver to be able to be cost neutral to the Government. We know that CanDeliver is a Territory owned corporation. It was established in 1997. It has been actively seeking and is now winning contracts to supply services to Commonwealth Government and ACT agencies. As many members would be aware, the basis for establishing CanDeliver was to give ACT companies an opportunity to pick up Commonwealth Government outsourcing. As we would all be aware, ACT companies were concerned when the Commonwealth started going to significant outsourcing that they simply did not have the size and the financial underpinning to be able to pick up these contracts themselves. So, CanDeliver was established, I hope with the support of the Assembly, in an attempt to give local companies more of a chance of being part of that sort of outsourcing.
Mr Speaker, CanDeliver has worked with a wide range of small businesses in the ACT and has helped to ensure that a large proportion of the jobs outsourced by the Commonwealth have remained in the ACT. Members will be aware that contracts it has won with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Finance and Administration and others are now in place. Members will also be aware that the Commonwealth tender processes often take many months and individual tenders generally do not win every time. As a result, firms often have a significant level of resources committed to particular bids at any one time.
In recognition of that and of the lead times for any businesses to be fully funding, the Government has decided to provide extra funds this year for CanDeliver in working capital and also, as Mr Corbell has said, it has been placed in the position of having to write off a loan. That is my understanding. Mr Speaker, we do have a choice here. We could scrap the whole CanDeliver approach and allow small businesses in Canberra to do it on their own or, alternatively, we can stand behind CanDeliver, chaired by a previous Deputy Chief Minister of this place - - -
Mr Hird: Who would that be?