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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1842 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

financial world say that it is an absolute winner, but it is virtually in the throes of trying to organise an expansion of its product.

Yes, it will be the case that some outer suburbs will not be connected as rapidly as they might. Let me also say that our influence over that, as a government, is considerably diminished-diminished more than it ought to have been, I have to say-by the process by which the last government injected funds into TransACT, whereby it did not have the wit to exercise or to arrange for a re-evaluation to write-off those losses that were seen as losses with the change of equipment and those losses that were seen as difficulty in installation which would not be recoverable within a financial model. Those losses should have been written out of the value so that when we put in another $30 million we would have got full value for it, but we did not get full value for our investment at that time and our share of TransACT is that much more diminished. We do not run the show; we are a minority shareholder.

MR STEFANIAK: I have a supplementary question. Treasurer, have you approached the federal government to get assistance for Telstra to lay extra cables, which would certainly enhance TransACT's ability in the outer northern suburbs, especially at Gungahlin?

MR QUINLAN: No, I have not. I do not know whether TransACT has. I would be interested in talking to you privately about this matter, if there is a prospect that somehow TransACT would attach itself to the Telstra network. Certainly, TransACT offers telephonic services virtually through Telstra, but TransACT also has its own broadband network and that is its real product. I am presuming at this stage-I had not even thought about it, I have to say-that they want to own and completely own their own system. As I said in answer to the previous question, I have no doubt that if TransACT does kick on, which is more likely than not, then there will be lots of parties interested in joining with TransACT, maybe subsuming TransACT into their operation. Certainly, it is one of those $50 on-the-nose jobs as far as an investment goes.

O'Connell Education Centre

MR PRATT: My question is to the minister for education, Mr Corbell. The O'Connell Education Centre, previously the Griffith primary school, is soon to be vacated by the education department, which has recently utilised the place for departmental administrative purposes. Clearly, you have judged the facilities to be surplus to requirement for government sector schooling purposes. Minister, in the spirit in which surplus DECS properties are normally handed over to communities for community use, why have you not considered the applications and the approaches by Blue Gum School, which is desperately seeking new facilities for 2003 and which has identified the O'Connell Education Centre as a most suitable choice for leasing?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, the government has not determined that the building is surplus to requirements. The department of education-not I-has made an assessment that the building is no longer required for the department's uses. Without going down and being a micro-manager, I accept the department's advice on that issue. I think that it is important to note that the decision to relocate the O'Connell centre from Griffith to an alternative location was a process commenced by my predecessor, Mr Stefaniak. It is a process which I have inherited and which I am also prepared to endorse.

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