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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2753 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

security of ACTION as the primary public transport system in the ACT that possibly goes beyond the five-year term of the next contract.

I certainly do fear that fashionable progression of making a body a statutory authority and then moving to corporatisation and then to privatisation. I am quite sympathetic with some of the reservations that have been brought forward tonight in relation to the maintenance of the community service obligations of ACTION and the maintenance of control over their primary assets and their primary functions, and the need for that to be brought to the Assembly. If members review that suite of amendments that have been hammered out between the government and ourselves they will see that virtually all of the reservations that have been brought up in speeches hitherto have been catered for. If we happen to have missed one in relation to control over assets, we hope to be back to fix that if there is some loophole.

I will not belabour the point too much longer because I intend, in the detail stage, to go through the salient amendments. There are not many. I notice you looking askance, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: No, no, Mr Quinlan.

MR QUINLAN: Of course not, Mr Speaker. I intend to mention those and their effect during the detail stage. Most members are probably aware that I spent a good time in my career working in the statutory authority. That statutory authority, the ACT Electricity Authority, was set up in 1964 and it provided exemplary service over many years. It provided the lowest tariffs in Australia. It built an identity and an ethos as a stand-alone enterprise of which most of the people who worked within it were very proud. It was only in the later years that we moved towards corporatisation and then the half sell-off that we have reached now. There were many years that that remained as a statutory authority. I see no reason why ACTION cannot remain for many more years as a statutory authority and maintain the ethos of service to the public, maintain some of those uneconomic services because people need them, and still receive support from government, because there are savings rendered by the existence of a public transport system and the removal of so many motor vehicles from our roads without necessarily progressing to the corporatisation stage.

I hope to be here for some if not all of the time of the five-year contract and I will be fighting tooth and nail to maintain ACTION as a statutory authority, as I did, but failed, in relation to the electricity authority as a very successful statutory authority. In fact it was so successful that it represented a real wad of cash if sold.

I will leave it at that, Mr Speaker, and hopefully rip through reasonably quickly the significant amendments to the original bill that have been hammered out between ourselves and the government.

MR RUGENDYKE (9.05): You have to be suspicious when the two major parties join forces like this. I will not refer to previous votes, but it happened with the Electoral Act. People know what happened there. For me, Mr Speaker, the question is about accountability. I am brave enough to say that I might have made a mistake by supporting, if I have, the creation of statutory authorities and similar things. I think I did it with Bruce and I think I regret it. Bruce is one that sticks in my mind.

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