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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3261 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mrs Burke for that question. It is a very good question and a very timely question on the first anniversary of this partnership being consummated. It is true that at the time this partnership between Actew and AGL was negotiated and approved by the Assembly there were many who suggested that the arrangement was a bad one; that it would result in many unfortunate things happening; that the ACT would not realise its investment; that we would lose the investment; that the venture would be swallowed up by AGL; that the sign on the building across the way would change from "ActewAGL" to just "AGL"; that we would not get what we put into it.

I can advise the Assembly that in the year since that agreement was consummated we have seen ActewAGL meet or exceed its major performance targets for customer service and for profitability. I give some examples of those things. Employment under ActewAGL has grown by 60 direct jobs through the AGL call centre, and indirectly hundreds more positions have been created.

The partnership has grown the utility's customer base. It has further spread interstate. There are now some 1,000 interstate customer contracts, including contracts with three of the major banks and one of Australia's leading retail chains.

It has delivered a profit of around $50 million for the first nine months to 30 June 2001, which is some 42 per cent above the target that was set for it. I am sure Mr Quinlan would be very pleased to know that if he were here. It topped an ACT government customer service survey, an Artcraft survey, as the best government agency for delivering services to the community.

Something that Mr Berry might be interested in is that it has provided improved safety for employees. Time lost through injuries has fallen by 16 per cent. It has provided improved job opportunities for young Canberrans, with 40 apprentices and engineering cadets undergoing training during the last year.

Here is something for Ms Tucker. It has grown the GreenChoice customer base by 42 per cent to 3,700 customers. It has commissioned a $4 million recycling water program in North Canberra and spent in total more than $100 million in the local community, including about $1 million supporting local sporting teams.

Opposition members interjecting-

MR HUMPHRIES: I know it is painful when one is proven wrong in these circumstances. The fact is that the ActewAGL partnership has proven extremely beneficial to the people of the ACT. The partnership has created jobs and attracted additional investment to the ACT. I think those people who chanted the ideology "public good, private bad" should realise that what we have achieved here is a very substantial benefit for the ACT community. It is clear that the partnership has been a beneficial one, and I would challenge those politically opposed to the joint venture arrangement to concede that the Canberra community is the clear winner.

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