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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3695 ..


Debate resumed from 21 October 1999, on motion by Mr Humphries:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR CORBELL (11.52): My colleague Mr Quinlan is responsible for covering this Bill. I would like to indicate that the Labor Party has been giving this Bill close consideration, and my colleague Mr Quinlan will now outline exactly what the close concerns are.

MR QUINLAN (11.53): The ALP has no problem with this particular Bill. We are assured from our examination and from what we have heard from the Government that, in the first instance, some parts are only modernising the provisions and descriptions, replacing a memorandum and articles of association with a constitution, as is permitted these days. Secondly, it allows for the constitution of shareholdings to be changed in order that capital can move in and out of territory owned corporations, much as has happened with ACTEW.

I have to make a side comment that we talk about the money that has been taken out of ACTEW as capital repatriation. The amount of capital invested in ACTEW is exactly zero. Its capital is made up of retained earnings and retained earnings only. In the main, it has set out over many years to make sufficient profits to fund its capital expansion. It has, to some extent, become a milch cow, unfortunately. We do not have any objection to the change in the structure that will allow capital repatriation. I have personally advocated a moderate capital repatriation from ACTEW in the select committee on the ACT's superannuation liability. Again, I stress that we have advocated a moderate repatriation from ACTEW in order to fund the past and accumulated superannuation liability. That particular exercise has been corrupted in this year's budget by the Government doing only that and providing nothing out of this year's budget to fund the growing proportion of the liability which we find will be responsible. However, we have no objections to the thrust of the Bill.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (11.56), in reply: To close the debate, I note Mr Quinlan's comments and the support of the Opposition. I hope it is seen widely as a means of ensuring that our TOCs operate on an efficient and effective basis. It provides that shares can be issued on a more flexible basis by the TOCs; that a statement of corporate intent can be lodged each year on a timeframe that is more reflective of the priorities that the Government might set for that particular organisation; and that the terminology used in the territory owned corporations legislation and the territory owned corporations themselves reflect the current wording of the Corporations Law. I thank members for their support for the Bill.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

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