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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 2963 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

whatever level of debt ACTEW might have it is capable of operating in the future with certainty and with some chance of returning a healthy dividend to the people of the ACT?

MR QUINLAN: I ask a supplementary question. Would Mr Humphries concede that this level of cash repatriation might have had just something to do with the fact that New South Wales did not want to know about the merger?

MR HUMPHRIES: No, I would not. The proposal about the cash repatriation did not come from the ACT. No, it would not have affected their views about it. Why are you asking me why New South Wales pulled the plug on this? Ask New South Wales itself. In fact, look at the media. Look at what Mr Egan said on the television and in the newspapers about the reason they were pulling out of this. It was not because of debt-to-equity ratios. It was not because of some cloud hanging over the operational side of ACTEW. It was about what you, Mr Quinlan, referred to on the last occasion in the Assembly when you asked this question. It relates to regulatory risk, what Fay Richwhite talked about in its report. That was what Mr Egan was talking about and that is what you, as much has anybody else, have a lot to do with. I think you ought to ask yourselves why that level of risk was considered unacceptable by one of the parties to this proposed merger.

Supercar Race

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, briefing notes supplied to members of the Assembly by the Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation on 15 July this year and subsequent media reports outlined that the ACT Government was to enter a five-year contract with AVESCO, the Australian Vee Eight Supercar Company, to conduct the street car race around the Parliamentary Triangle. Chief Minister, can you confirm that a contract has now been signed between the Government or CTEC and AVESCO?

MS CARNELL: I will find out whether the contract has been signed. It is my understanding that it has, but I will find out what the date is.

MR CORBELL: I ask a supplementary question. Chief Minister, can you tell the Assembly what AVESCO's company status is? Can you confirm that the company was voluntarily deregistered by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission on 23 December last year and, if so, what the effect of that deregistration is? Chief Minister, are you further aware of an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission into the affairs of AVESCO? Can you assure the Assembly that the company's affairs are in order and that the ACT is at no risk from its contractual dealings with AVESCO?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, AVESCO, as I understand it, run the whole V8 car series right around Australia. It is a very successful entity. As I personally have not done a company search of AVESCO, I will take the question on notice.

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