Page 4077 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 16 Sept 2009

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At the end of the day, irrespective of which way this motion goes, I think that the people of the ACT will start to see an accounting for what has gone on and why there has been such a horrendous blow-out in costs in this project. It is time that the government started to take responsibility. Through the language that they use in the way that they approach answering these questions and the way they approach motions like this, it is clear that the government is, as far as possible, trying to deflect all responsibility onto Actew and keep the issue at arm’s length.

This is something that is fairly and squarely in the court of this government. This is something that the government has said that it wants to do. The Deputy Chief Minister and the Chief Minister, as the shareholders, have to sign off on this. They have to be aware of what is going on. They cannot deflect it. They cannot move it over to someone who is not a shareholder and say, “He’s looking after it because he’s the person responsible for water.”

There are real problems here. Because of this, the opposition will not be supporting this amendment, even in its amended form.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.41), by leave: I move:

In proposed paragraph 5(b), after “Government” insert “, shareholders and Ministers”.

The reason for this is to respond to some concerns raised with me by Mr Rattenbury about the need to ensure completeness and to make sure it is clear that the chronology relates to advice provided by Actew to the government as a whole as well as to shareholder ministers and other ministers as appropriate.

The government is happy to do that. The reason for that is that the government has nothing to hide on this issue. The Liberal Party can say as much as they like about what they think is a conspiracy, some attempt to hide the facts or whatever it might be, but the bottom line is that the government has got nothing to hide on this issue.

The government has received advice from Actew about the final cost of this project. That advice was received in the time frames that I, Ms Gallagher and Mr Stanhope advised the Assembly of in question time today and yesterday. We have nothing to hide on it. We are happy to make that available; indeed, we think it is entirely appropriate that, with a project of this size and scale, in terms of its cost, in terms of the factors relating to its cost, it should be made available to the Assembly.

Actew is a territory-owned corporation. It performs activities consistent with its charter on behalf of the territory. The territory and the people of Canberra are the shareholders in that organisation. They deserve and are entitled to know what the costs of the project are, how those costs have been arrived at and what the variation is. The government is very happy to provide that information.

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