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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 120 ..

MR OSBORNE: You have thrown me off. We were talking about a couple of things and out of the blue he asked, "Who the hell is paying all that money to TransACT?" I said, "What do you mean?" He said that he had travelled around the world with his business and had been dealing with a number of companies. In his view cable technology was old technology. Everywhere he went and all the big players he dealt with around the world agreed that the future was in broadband. Is that the one through the air?

Mr Smyth: No. This is a broadband cable.

Mr Rugendyke: Digital. I'll help you, mate.

MR OSBORNE: Digital. There it is. Anyway, you know what I mean. Although the technology is new technology for what we have in the ground at the moment, his view is that in a couple of years it will be obsolete. You can imagine my concern about this when someone who I know is involved in the industry asked me a question like that. Minister, can you tell me how much this has cost the ACT so far, including Actew's component in TransACT? Do you have a figure on how much you think this will ultimately cost the ACT taxpayer?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Osborne for the question. TransACT is not a project or an enterprise which is actually directly operated by the ACT. TransACT is a venture owned by a number of players, of whom the ACT is but one. In fact, I think the ACT, through Actew, is but one. A number of shareholders are the owners of TransACT. The shareholders include AGL and some other companies. I can provide Mr Osborne with the details of those companies. In a sense the investment in TransACT and the exposure TransACT experiences is for TransACT itself. If TransACT fails completely and goes down the gurgler, which I do not believe is going to be the case, then TransACT's investment is an investment loss for the shareholders, of whom Actew is a relatively small player.

Actew was a major instigator of the TransACT project. It worked hard to develop the TransACT concept and made some investment in terms of set-up costs and in developing the idea. The roll-out of cable at Aranda, for example, was done, I think, entirely by Actew. It has expanded that now into a partnership with other companies in order to roll-out in the rest of the ACT.

I can give Mr Osborne the figures that are on the public record about the investment made in TransACT to date, but that does not represent an exposure by the ACT community because only a small proportion of that exposure is ACT community exposure.

As for Mr Osborne's comment on his friend's view about the appropriateness of the technology and how contemporary the technology is, I always take the views of Mr Osborne's friends very seriously, Mr Speaker. I never know when these views might be expressed on the floor of this chamber before very long, so I do not scoff at them at all.

My advice is that the technology is very contemporary, cutting-edge technology. It is not just a cable; it is a broadband cable facilitating much greater information flow to a person who has it in their home, business, school or whatever. The illustration of that is that

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