Page 4183 - Week 11 - Thursday, 17 Sept 2009

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dam was increasing as they finalised the work. I think everybody who was providing public comment on this was saying that. As to the final figure, I think it became clear—the board were advised, I think on 21 August, as we were advised a few days later.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary question?

MS PORTER: Treasurer, can you confirm the separate responsibilities of portfolio ministers and voting shareholders in relation to Actew?

Ms GALLAGHER: Yes, I can. It does appear that the opposition, particularly in the role of the voting shareholders, seem to believe that we must have a much more active role in terms of the decision-making process of territory-owned corporations. For the information of the Assembly, I can confirm that the role of the voting shareholder is responsible for appointing directors. We must approve the acquisition or disposal of any main undertaking or asset and the forming or ceasing of a subsidiary, significant partnership trust or unincorporated joint venture. We may issue directions to perform or cease to perform an activity or to comply with a general government policy. We must determine the financial distribution policy, for example, the dividend policy of the TOC to the government, and we may request financial statements, performance reports and any other information about the TOC or the subsidiary. We may comment on the draft statements of corporate intent—indeed, I am tabling them this afternoon. We have the only votes at a general meeting of the company, including the annual general meeting, and we must ensure that the constitution of a TOC has relevant provisions as specified by the TOC Act.

Those responsibilities are very clear, and I think the opposition is trying to blur the role between the voting shareholder and the role of directors of territory-owned corporations, specifically in relation to Actew, in terms of perpetuating a public line that we have much more direct control over the day-to-day management affairs of Actew than we have or are allowed to have under the Corporations Act.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary question?

MR SESELJA: Treasurer, when was Actew first advised that the costs had blown out beyond the $246 million revealed on 30 May?

MS GALLAGHER: I will have to take that on notice. I know that it went to their board meeting. I believe their board meeting was on 21 August. I may be wrong on that. They certainly had a meeting on the 26th. I think it may have gone to a board meeting before that, but if not—I will check. It is probably best for the information of members of the Assembly that I get the exact date and come back to you.

Education—early childhood

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Can the minister advise the Assembly of the progress of the government’s program of investment in and reform of early childhood development and explain how the Canberra community will benefit from these investments and reforms?

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