Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3831 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

to be contemplating privatisation of 50 per cent of our electricity distribution business and, quite obviously, that is core business. Can you assure this Assembly that an arrangement which had its genesis in a restricted call for expressions of interest would stand up to independent scrutiny? Can we be assured that no organisation, dissuaded from expressing interest by the control requirements in the advertisement, could now claim that the pseudo tender process was not completely open?

MS CARNELL: I can tell you that of the 29 proposals that came forth we had everything from worm farms through to straight sales of ACTEW, so I do not think that there was a very narrow process, to put it mildly.

Mr Humphries: Restricted.

MS CARNELL: Or a restricted process. In fact, there were many permutations and combinations, I am told - everything you could possibly think of - with regard to the future of ACTEW. As to the proposal, a strategic partnership is what those opposite have told us we should have; so the work on a possible strategic partnership with AGL that is now under way is something that I would have thought those opposite would have been very positive about. I have to say that at least some of the crossbenchers have been. We are very positive about that whole approach.

In terms of due process, as I know we announced yesterday, it is the ACTEW board that has proposed that the AGL strategic partnership is the best of the group of 29 proposals that were put forward. They have looked at them all in depth and believe that this is the one that has the most legs, taking into account comments made by members of this place and comments made by the Canberra community generally. I think that members would agree that a strategic partnership with a company of the strength of AGL, not just in the ACT but in Australia, bringing together the management of gas, electricity, water and sewerage - even though, of course, the ownership of water and sewerage stays with solely the ACT Government - as a multi-utility is something that is pretty exciting for Canberra. But it is something where the process has to be followed.

We have to make sure from a shareholder perspective and from an Assembly perspective that this really does stack up as being in the best interests, not just of ACTEW or AGL, but of the people of Canberra. That is what we will be doing. I understand that Mr Humphries will be releasing a rundown of the other proposals, but it was not the Government or the shareholders that assessed AGL to be the best of the proposals. It was, appropriately, the ACTEW board.

MR QUINLAN: I might remind you that you told this Assembly that the expressions of interest would be evaluated with the GSE merger. I might also add, just in response to what you have said, that, in fact, we do feel quite positive - - -

MR SPEAKER: Do not give a preamble.

MR QUINLAN: It is just a point of clarification, Mr Speaker. We do feel quite positive, as long as you do it the right way.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .