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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1039 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

the public sector-such as printing and building services-might also be established as Government Trading Enterprises.

Many of these authorities and enterprises have, by their achievements, earned the respect and support of all Western Australians. At the same time, because their efficiency has crucial implications for the efficient operation of the whole economy, the Western Australian Government wants to ensure they work consciously and deliberately toward a high level of performance for the future.

The emphasis on lifting the performance of these elements of the public sector is also consistent with the resolutions of the special Premiers' Conference held in Brisbane in October 1990. At this conference the Prime Minister and all the State and Territory leaders affirmed their commitment to fundamental reform of their Government Trading Enterprises.

The Western Australian Government believes that the corporatisation framework provides an appropriate and effective means of achieving the necessary improvements in performance. The inherent management principles may however be more generally applied throughout the public sector.

I do not think Maggie Thatcher could have said it any better herself.

MR QUINLAN (3.43): Maggie Thatcher would have argued for the case and not against it. Mrs Burke talked about corporatisation and then went on about government trading enterprises. I am a little confused.

Mrs Burke, welcome to the new millennium. Let me introduce you to a new term which postdates Maggie Thatcher, as a lot of modern society does. It is "backsourcing". It is a word I am sure John Fahey understands, having in recent times been the scapegoat within the federal government for the backflips that have been necessary in relation to the failure of outsourcing. I have to agree with you that government business enterprises do from time to time need to be reformed, but I do not think that reform should be as fundamental as putting them out of business. That is probably taking it a little too far. The process of the housing maintenance contract, which is the latest event to strike Totalcare and the event which I am fairly confident precipitated Mr Stanhope's desire to move this motion, is consistent with the arguments you have put forward.

I am fairly confident, from what I have heard in this place and what I have heard outside this place, that the housing maintenance contracts that have been let to two Sydney companies are, from a whole-of-government perspective, a bad commercial deal. When we taken into consideration the costs of the job redundancies that are involved in this particular process and when we take into account the fire sale of any equipment and assets and the losses that would arise from the fire sale of the assets associated with this particular business, I am fairly confident that we have done a bad deal.

We have probably done a bad deal despite the fact that we are now letting two companies in the private sector come into town. No doubt they sharpened their pencils to get into town. We will now close up shop at Totalcare. We do not have the flexibility to stay in business, particularly as we have let the lot go. Nobody had the wit or the foresight in relation to this housing contract to say, "We will let half of it to one of the Sydney companies, the better one, and we will leave the other half with Totalcare and see which one performs better. We will get the maximum benefit of competition. We

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