Page 4180 - Week 11 - Thursday, 17 Sept 2009

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particularly, as under current ACT legislation attendance at college is not compulsory. The most particular use of the SMS technology has been in high schools, but with the funding that was made available in the 2007-08 budget to continue the rollout of the broadband network into our primary schools, the availability of that technology is extending across all ACT public schools. At the conclusion of the project, I am advised by the education department that it will be possible for parents in all ACT public schools to register for an SMS alert if their son or daughter is not attending school. In the absence of that technology, schools would use more traditional methods, such as making a phone call.

Cotter Dam—cost

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Treasurer and relates to the management of and governance arrangements for territory-owned corporations. Treasurer, as a shareholder of Actew, and as the minister responsible for policy relating to territory-owned corporations, what lessons have you learned about the management of corporations following the quarter of a billion dollar blow-out of the Cotter Dam enlargement project?

MS GALLAGHER: Well, I have learned that the territory-owned corporation in this instance has done all the due diligence and extensive planning studies to finalise the exact costs before proceeding with such a project of major significance to the territory. I think that with the information that will be provided to the Assembly later today you will be able to see the amount of work that has gone into the detailed analysis of water security options for the ACT community and the work that has gone into ensuring that the enlarged Cotter Dam actually provides us with the water security that our community expects and deserves. The processes in place are thorough and adequate. Mrs Dunne, I am very confident that the processes that are in place in terms of communicating with the shareholders and in terms of informing the government at the earliest opportunity of the final costs of this significant project worked in this case.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Dunne?

MRS DUNNE: Treasurer, what changes, if any, will be made to the government’s arrangements for territory-owned corporations following this quarter of a billion dollar blow-out in costs?

MS GALLAGHER: None that I am aware of. I look forward to Mrs Dunne’s amendments to the TOC Act if she has some ideas that she believes will ensure that when a TOC goes through this detailed planning they have the figure before they start any of the work to actually identify the final costs—that they should know the final costs before they go through the process. I will look to see how you craft that amendment, Mrs Dunne. It will be very interesting to see.

In terms of the shareholders’ responsibilities, we are in close contact with Actew. They provide us with information as we require it and we will keep in very close discussions with them as this project of major significance is commenced and built in the territory. As to any specific amendments to the TOC Act, I cannot think of any that would have addressed the issue that the opposition seems so concerned about.

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