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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (16 May) . . Page.. 1751 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

sewerage services utility that is based in the ACT. Outside its home base, ActewAGL sells electricity in the south-eastern Australian contestable market, and provides skilled services elsewhere in Australia and overseas.

The ownership of ActewAGL is jointly shared between Actew Corporation and AGL. Actew is a territory-owned corporation. The ACT's water and waste water assets are owned by Actew Corporation, and ActewAGL provides water and sewerage services under contract. Its services are regulated by legislation.

The Utilities Act, which was a commendable piece of legislation and a great initiative of the Liberal government, came into effect for ActewAGL and the Actew Corporation on 1 June 2001. It regulates, as Mr Wood has outlined, how all utilities must provide services to customers in the ACT, and it also regulates to some extent the community service obligations of ActewAGL and Actew.

Unlike some in the Assembly, I applaud the farsightedness of the former Liberal government that led to the synergy of this unique partnership. What we created in the ACT was a one-stop shop utility. Today, we have already expressed warm sentiments towards the new nation of East Timor, and I share those views. An outfit like ActewAGL is exactly what an emerging nation like East Timor needs: concerted expertise of world standing that spans the gamut of utility services.

Before the ACT election, the former government was approached by many on behalf of the emerging nation of East Timor to gain the participation of ActewAGL in utility projects in East Timor. If the World Bank would underwrite ActewAGL's involvement, East Timor could have a service that is second to none.

I have to say that, as shadow minister for the environment, I have had several dealings with senior executives of ActewAGL and I am, and continue to be, impressed by their willingness to look at emerging technologies and their application in the territory. As Mr Wood has already said, we have mini-hydros on some dams, the continued investigation of wind power generation, the participation in photovoltaic experiments in houses and schools, and the Cranos experiment, which led to the treatment of waste water for reuse on playing fields, and to experimentation with small-scale, grey-water reuse plants in private homes.

It has been my experience that concerns of ecological sustainability are very much to the fore of ActewAGL's corporate thinking. However, I doubt very much whether that enlightened awareness is shared by their equal partner shareholder, represented in this place by Mr Quinlan. Judging by statements made in the Assembly by Mr Quinlan, I sometimes wonder if he sleeps through the briefings he receives. In this Assembly just last month, when I moved, against the government's wishes, to have the issue of renewable energy referred to the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, Mr Quinlan thought it was rather quaint. He pooh-poohed the notion.

Thinking aloud, Mr Quinlan's contribution to the debate centred on his curious observation, and I quote ,"If you produce stuff out of your committee at the soft end and it is idealistic and stunning but totally useless, it will be over to you." Mr Quinlan thinks that sustainability and renewable energy are totally useless-the far-seeing, visionary,

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