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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2873 ..

MR CORNWELL (continuing):

went on to recommend that the government undertake an extensive and timely publicity campaign to acquaint ACT consumers of the consequences of any decision to apply full retail contestability in the territory.

I hope that the government will do that. I would ask that also by 1 January 2003 you might like to look very carefully at where this full retail contestability is going. The draft report of the ICRC of May 2002 estimated an increase of $2 per month for domestic users of electricity. When the final report was issued in June-that is, two months later-the estimate of increased costs to domestic users had gone up to $6 a month. That is a 300 per cent increase in just two months. I would like some assurances, Mr Treasurer, that by the time we reach 1 January 2003 the cost will not have climbed every two months to become more than was originally suggested.

Mr Treasurer, I don't know if you have any control over this but I would like your comments relating to what appears to me to be a rather inadequate way of assessing this type of cost. I think domestic consumers need to realise what is happening. Two dollars a month may not sound much but it has now gone up to $6 a month. If we are going to work on a 300 per cent increase over the following six months it is going to get rather expensive.

The other matter I would like to talk about is Totalcare. You are faced with total confusion when you look at the budget papers that relate to Totalcare. I am unable to find in the papers where the $1.113 million cost of the corporate fleet division transfer from Fyshwick to Mitchell is listed. You may elaborate on that for me, Mr Treasurer. Also, where are the 2002-03 budget costs for the relocation scheduled for this financial year of the Totalcare roads and facilities management business to the Mitchell site? I also note that we are showing losses in the linen area.

The Estimates Committee stated:

The Committee recommends the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission review whether Totalcare's operations are consistent with National Competition Policy guidelines.

The government does not agree with this recommendation. I think it would probably be a good idea if they did have a look at this because I, too, am concerned that we have a government-funded organisation-$5 million last year-competing out there with the private sector. Is this a fair go? Is this government in fact committed to encouraging the private sector or are you prepared to compete against them? I would suggest that, with that sort of injection of funds, the government has probably an unfair advantage. I would like the Treasurer's comments on that.

Finally, Mr Treasurer, where is the fourth report for the Australian International Hotel School? On 8 March this year you advised me that the fourth and final report for that body had not yet been presented. We are almost at the end of August and there is still no sign of it. However, I note that one of the 2002-03 budget highlights-I don't know that I would use that expression-is "making recommendations arising from the strategic review of the Australian International Hotel School to be considered by government and address issues relating to the future operations of the AIHS".

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