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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 147 ..

MRS DUNNE: Is the minister aware of the case before the AAT known as the Evatt case, and is it a fact that this test case effectively means that it will be impossible for him to implement his policy in areas where there are pre-1975 leases?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of that case, nor have I received any advice on it.

Impulse Airlines

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the minister for business. Minister, can you inform the house what action the government has taken to safeguard the ACT's investment in Impulse Airlines following its sale to Qantas?

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Ms MacDonald. I would like to inform the house that I met with representatives of Qantas head office recently. That meeting followed one I had with local representatives. Both meetings were, in the ultimate, very constructive. I have been assured that Qantas will fulfil the obligations they have taken over from Impulse. They recognise that in taking over Impulse Airlines they have not only assumed control of the assets but also assumed responsibility for the liabilities and the commitments.

They intend to complete the heavy maintenance facility. They intend to extend their regional routes. We will have to negotiate on those. It is going to be difficult to differentiate between those regional routes that Qantas would have introduced anyway and those that Impulse had committed to. I inform the house that we have agreed to be a little flexible on which routes will be introduced. We certainly expect to draw the maximum out of the contract.

MS MacDONALD: I ask a supplementary question. Can the minister assure the house that the ACT will not be out of pocket as a result of the sale of Impulse to Qantas?

MR QUINLAN: Possibly based on experience, at the outset of the negotiations I got the distinct impression of being a little patronised. Some propositions put forward seemed to be based on the assumption of ready acquiescence. I think we were able to convince Qantas that the ACT government were no longer wood ducks, as the saying goes. I assure the house that we will have to work very hard in negotiating with Qantas. They are an international company. They do not mess around when they send someone down on this deal. There is still some ground to be made up not only in delineating that which will be totally incremental to the ACT but also in our business relationship, which I think we have gone a long way to improving.

Police numbers

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Quinlan in his capacity as minister for police. In August, Mr Stanhope and Mr Hargreaves promised to boost police numbers to the national average, which meant an increase of 82 officers by the end of the term. In October, that was revised down to increasing police numbers in this term by 20 officers, while saying that an increase of 80 officers was a longer term objective. Minister, what is the present establishment for police numbers in Canberra? Can you advise the Assembly what has been done to date to increase numbers and what the deadline will be to increase police numbers by 80 officers?

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