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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1038 ..

MRS BURKE (3.38): I would like to respond to the opening remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Jon Stanhope, earlier today. Of course, the ACT is not alone in corporatising particular government trading enterprises. The competition principles agreement brought in by Paul Keating and agreed to by all jurisdictions clearly states that the parties, where appropriate, will adopt a corporatisation model for these government business enterprises.

I was very interested to hear Mr Stanhope's understanding of what corporatisation is all about. It would appear that he is out of step with some of his interstate counterparts on this matter. However, rather than try to match his rhetoric, I thought it would be useful to compare his remarks with those of a former Western Australian minister for micro-economic reform, a certain Dr Geoff Gallop:

All Western Australians are starting to benefit from a new approach by government for the provision of commercial goods and services. As part of its commitment to reforming the public sector, the WA Government has embarked on a program of 'corporatisation' so that its trading agencies can operate more effectively and efficiently. The process will produce economic and social benefits for the whole community-including improved services, lower taxes and charges, more jobs and increased funding for social programs.

Corporatisation is a means of making government agencies more competitive and efficient.

It involves the introduction of policies and systems so that agencies function in an environment that minimises the cost of producing goods and services.

The corporatisation process is generally applied to what are known as Government Trading Enterprises-those public sector agencies which charge for the goods and services they provide and are largely self-financing.

For some time now, Government Trading Enterprises have been required to improve their performance by adopting a more commercial approach to their operations. Corporatisation aims to achieve further increases in efficiency by requiring Government Trading Enterprises to operate in a more accountable and competitive environment, 'at arm's length' from the Government.

The principles of corporatisation are being adopted around the world as governments seek to improve performance and reduce the financial burden on the community.

I wonder whether Mr Stanhope is aware that Dr Carmen Lawrence was then Premier of Western Australia, and he may be interested to contemplate what this highly respected politician also had to say about corporatisation. She said:

The activities of Government Trading Enterprises are very wide-ranging. Many Government Trading Enterprises, particularly those which provide the State's basic economic infrastructure, are household names. These include large businesses like the Water Authority, R&I Bank, Westrail, the Fremantle Port Authority and the State Energy Commission. Other Government Business Enterprises provide highly targeted economic services-such as the West Australian Meat Commission-or are engaged in cultural activities-such as the Perth Theatre Trust and the Lotteries Commission. Units within agencies which provide special services to other parts of

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