Page 4176 - Week 11 - Thursday, 17 Sept 2009

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Mr Seselja: Do you know the length of the loan, though—the loan repayment period?

MS GALLAGHER: Again, because the loan has not been agreed to, the duration of the loan and the interest rate of the loan have not been finalised. Sometimes short-term borrowings are better depending on the rate of interest that is being asked for. It is difficult to answer the question because it has not reached the point where those decisions have been taken. When they are, I will be very happy to inform the Assembly; indeed, I think I am required to.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary question?

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, what will be the total cost of the Cotter Dam enlargement, including the interest to be paid?

MS GALLAGHER: I think I just answered that. The total cost of the dam at this point is $363 million. As to any additional borrowings that need to be undertaken, those arrangements will be finalised in the next—

Mr Smyth: The $363 million includes interest?

MS GALLAGHER: No, that is the total cost of the dam. I cannot stand here and give you a figure on any interest payable on a loan that has not been entered into.

MR SPEAKER: I call Ms Burch to ask a supplementary.

MS BURCH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, given that it is the loan and interest that has been asked about, can you tell us whether this would have any effect on our balance sheet or the budget bottom line?

MS GALLAGHER: What I can say is that the fact we have a AAA credit rating assists us in terms of getting the best deal possible for the borrowings that we will undertake on behalf of the utility in Actew. I think when we look at the borrowings of the ACT government, the majority of the borrowings have been undertaken on behalf of Actew.

Any additional borrowings that we need to undertake for the dam in the future I am told, whilst it will come close to something that Standard & Poor’s would be interested in—and I think they have indicated that in their commentary on the budget issued on 5 May—at this point in time the fact that we have a AAA credit rating, the fact that we want to keep a AAA credit rating, means that certainly assists us in terms of getting the best deal for our borrowings in the future.

Cotter Dam—project management

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer and shareholder in Actew. Treasurer, we understand, as you have said, that the delivery of the Cotter Dam project is being managed under an alliance model. Treasurer, can you describe how the alliance model works and outline the benefits of using the model for the taxpayers of the ACT?

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