Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 2515 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
legislation which would ensure that probably in excess of $2m of extra money goes to exactly the organisations Mr Wood is talking about. If they oppose it, that money will be lost to organisations who need it.
MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. I understand that recently ACTION undertook an on-board and telephone survey asking ACTION patrons how they felt the new service was operating. Fifteen to 20 questions were asked in the phone survey, some of them lengthy. However, interestingly, the final question in the phone survey was: "Do you think ACTION should be privatised?". Why was this question asked?
MR SMYTH: It was a reasonable survey that canvassed a whole range of issues. One of the issues was whether people were happy with the Government providing this service or whether perhaps other operators should be allowed into the ACT. It was a reasonable question.
MR HARGREAVES: I ask a supplementary question. We note the Government's intention to go to the first stage of privatisation by introducing the ACTION Corporation Bill in the spring sitting. When, Minister, does this Government intend to fully privatise ACTION?
MR SMYTH: The Government has made it quite clear that if the $10.5m worth of savings were made we had no intention to privatise ACTION. If I remember the advice from Mr Hargreaves, it was: "Stop at 8; stop at 8.1; stop at 8.4. You cannot go any further". Then the specialist for industrial relations on the other side, Mr Stanhope, jumped in and said, "Stop at 8.7; stop at 9. You cannot go past 9. Stop at 9.6". We have made $10.5m worth of savings from ACTION. We have delivered 27 per cent extra services to the people of Canberra. They are the sorts of services that they asked for, and we will continue to ask them about the sort of service that they want provided.
It is very curious that those opposite are offended by this. The reason that the service works is that the union - in conjunction with the staff, the management and the Government - have made it work. We work with our community. We work very hard with the community. We have even worked with the unions. Again today the Chief Minister and Mr Moore are talking to the unions, talking to representatives of the nurses, trying to get on with life.
What did Graham Richardson call this lot opposite? He called them the last of the Stalinist Labor parties in the world. They sit over there in splendid isolation, totally out of this world, because they do not stand for anything. They do not stand for anything, because they cannot match us on anything. Can they match us on our performance on unemployment and fiscal management? No, they cannot. Can they match us on policy? No, they cannot, because they simply do not have - - -
Mr Corbell: I take a point of order on the ground of relevance, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you.