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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 2961 ..

Family Services Database

MR OSBORNE: I feel honoured to be following that question about Bruce Stadium. I do recall there being crowds of over 20,000 at Bruce when I played rugby league. How long ago did I play? I think the first three or four records at Bruce Stadium were for games between the Raiders and St George, so I am in the record books for when I played for Canberra and for when I played for St George. Nevertheless, I will move on.

MR SPEAKER: There can be no preamble to a supplementary question but there can be no nostalgia in a question either.

MR OSBORNE: I am just dreaming, Mr Speaker. My question is to the Minister for family services, Mr Stefaniak. Minister, is it the case that the family services branch is implementing a database to contain details on all branch foster carers? Maybe I should have asked Mr Rugendyke this question. If so, what consultation did the family services branch have with foster carers? I should have asked that of Mr Rugendyke also. Who will have access to this database? What privacy provisions are there in place, and what details are to be included in this database?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. Some of it I may have to take on notice, Mr Osborne, to give you a full answer. There has been a database in Family Services and, I understand, in interstate agencies for a number of years. I think that is terribly important, given the nature of the institutions and the types of situations that do arise.

To answer the other part of your question, Mr Osborne, I understand that there are in place the arrangements one would expect, but I will take the question on notice and fully answer the various components of it. Whilst I am well aware of the database, to give you a full answer I would need to get some more information than I have now.


MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer. Last week the Government released the findings of the supposedly joint working party investigation into the proposed ACTEW-Great Southern Energy merger. That report recommended that a huge amount of cash could be extracted from the merged organisation, leaving it in debt to the tune of $1.35 billion. That would leave it with a debt-equity ratio of more than 60 per cent and with, I suggest, equity overstated through unrealised inflation of the overall valuation of the enterprise. Does the Treasurer agree with the international consultants ABN AMRO that a gearing ratio of more than 60 per cent is an acceptable figure for ACTEW, or for any public utility for that matter, for the future in whatever form ACTEW might take? If the Treasurer does not wholeheartedly endorse that very high ratio, why did he and his Government let this bizarre concept be communicated to the New South Wales Government as our proposal without qualification?

MR HUMPHRIES: I need to congratulate Mr Quinlan on having the courage to raise the ACTEW-GSE merger in the circumstances of what I understand were fairly caustic comments last week by his colleague the New South Wales Treasurer.

Mr Stanhope: He was referring to the Chief Minister.

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