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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3633 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I am advised that the total capital funding commitment agreed between TransACT's shareholders is in the order of $230 million. This commitment includes share capital, vendor finance and operational income, and goes to the total cost of the project under TransACT's business plan.

I am also advised that the directors and management of TransACT have commenced a review of its business plan, focusing on:

continuing strong community and business support for TransACT, and broadband technology generally;

increasing the current rate of connections to individual houses and businesses, so that the actual rollout and associated costs align more closely with TransACT's ability to connect; and

a number of other initiatives designed to improve profitability and revenue, and take advantage of the technology made available by the network.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, these strategies and the review of the business plan will, in turn, determine whether or when TransACT requires further investment by existing or new investors. They will, in turn, determine the Actew Corporation's ongoing position. I have been unequivocally advised by Actew Corporation that TransACT is:

being very carefully and sensibly managed,

in a position where it has sufficient committed funding to carry forward its plans well into next year, and

working to plan on customer connections.

To quote Actew chairman, Jim Service:

on the currently available information . . . the TransACT network will be technically superior and successful and . . . it will become a financially viable business-provided that it continues to receive adequate financial support.

The TransACT initiative is ambitious, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, and has attendant business risks that are borne by all shareholders, including the ACT government through Actew Corporation. We must proceed prudently. We have done so at all stages of the development of this initiative. However, it is important to note that its value to Canberra is of inestimable worth, and requires our continuing encouragement and support.

I present the following paper:

TransACT-Ministerial statement, 29 August 2001.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR QUINLAN (3.55): I am reassured by some of the content of the paper that the Chief Minister has delivered. I am concerned though that when the public accounts committee, and I as chairman of the public accounts committee, have acted, I think, in as responsible a manner as is possible in order to balance the commercial interests of TransACT versus the public interest in terms of large amounts of public funds being expended, we have sort of got headed towards this political game of polarisation that is played.

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