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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2876 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Using the current contracts we are something like 20 per cent better off than a lot of other jurisdictions in terms of the rate we pay for electricity. That 20 per cent will be a function of the contract price and also the economies of scale inasmuch as there is a lot of electricity per capita used in the ACT. That economy of scale should remain. But when the contract at Actew has expired there is highly likely to be a significant increase in the price of electricity to the consumer. At that point in time it may well be that some members in this place might think, "Why aren't we in open competition in the open market so that our consumers can get the best price available? Why have we made them a captive of Actew, that no longer has an advantage?" That is the point that the government and probably the Assembly need to wrestle with.

The ICRC would permit ActewAGL two years or maybe three years to recover the costs of setting up for competition, and this is around about the same time frame in which we can enjoy lower prices before the market comes to meet us head on. So we are still wrestling with this reasonably complex problem.

We have said no to a review of Totalcare. After all the criticism we have had of reviews, I think it is ironic that you are calling for us to have a review. Totalcare has been subject to review after review after review.

Mr Cornwell: Maybe that says something.

MR QUINLAN: Exactly. It is not a simple problem to fix but, Mr Cornwell, rest assured I will be doing my best and this government will be doing its best to fix this problem, which is one of many that I enumerated before in debate. We will be doing the best we can to sort that out, without just tossing out on the street a whole lot of people who work in government. These are people who have effectively, one suspects, been transferred from the government service into Totalcare with a view to allowing them to wither on the vine rather than the government taking on the difficult task, I presume, of just throwing the day-labour force out on the street. So we have inherited quite a complex and difficult problem, and it is going to take a lot of working through. We are working through it.

Let me go to Mr Humphries' queries. I will take the simple one first. Why does stamp duty increase because-

Mr Cornwell: You have left one out that I mentioned.

MR QUINLAN: What was that?

Mr Cornwell: How about the hotel school?

MR QUINLAN: I haven't got the report yet. I was asking for it today, of all things, so where the hell is it?

The reason why stamp duty goes up when you sell Commonwealth buildings, and there have been a lot sold, is that the Commonwealth is a self-insurer, and as a self-insurer it doesn't take out policies and therefore it doesn't pay stamp duty. If it sells to a private owner, the owner does take insurance-he would be mad if he didn't-and he does pay stamp duty. So as private ownership replaces federal government ownership the amount

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