Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 864 ..
MR SPEAKER: You cannot be called upon to announce executive policy.
MR QUINLAN: No.
MR SPEAKER: What you are doing is your own business, I suppose, as a minister.
MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Let me say in a general sense about particular portfolios I have inherited since the Labor government came to power that I really have inherited some issues that should have been addressed some time before that date, but had not enjoyed any scrutiny. It is certainly the case that Totalcare as an organisation has made recorded losses. That has been discussed in this place before. It is certainly also the case that this government, at least, takes its responsibilities seriously and will set about the process of making sure that we operate all of the functions of government in the most effective and viable manner.
We will be announcing an implementation group that will look at Totalcare. Totalcare has been reviewed and reviewed and reviewed and nothing has been done. I do not shy away from the responsibility, but I also accept that this is a very difficult job to undertake because there are so many people and their livelihoods involved. It would strike me as the ultimate irony that a Liberal party would want to make any political capital out of any work that the government does in relation to Totalcare, given the various stages and the evolution of the situation at Totalcare.
This government will be setting up a group of people, involving Totalcare management, staff and the unions, with a view to ensuring that the various functions of Totalcare that government needs to be provided are still provided and provided in the most efficient and effective manner and that the livelihoods of those people directly involved are not jettisoned overnight. We will be working towards trying to ensure continuation of employment or retraining and redeployment of all people in functions that may be either reduced or eliminated in terms of the public sector operations, the detail of which I cannot give you because we are putting the people who know the detail of what is done in charge of the process. But we are working towards making sure that we do have an effective process-and not before time, Mr Cornwell.
MR CORNWELL: I have a supplementary question. Mr Quinlan, I understand why you cannot say when you will put it into place. Can you give me a time scale, however? We are dealing with 30 September at the moment. Can you give me a time scale to assist these workers into new jobs because, frankly, I think 30 September is leaving them dangling in the breeze for a considerable amount of time without any care rather than Totalcare?
MR QUINLAN: Very droll! I can only repeat what I said. You talk about leaving people dangling. The cynical way that Totalcare was managed before this government was elected was, I think, one of the disgraces of the previous government. As I have said, it does represent a very difficult task. It is not a task that I think ought to be made light of, because people's livelihoods are involved in this regard.
There are areas in Totalcare that are not competitive, and they are not competitive in large part because conditions in the private sector have been broken down. Under the