Page 144 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 14 December 2016

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MR BARR: I am not sure that outlining that Aquis made public their intention to the stock exchange qualifies as a statement that would prompt an interjection from the former Leader of the Opposition. As I said yesterday, I am delighted that in spite of the election result he still has some fight. He is one of the few on that side who still want to carry on past battles.

But back to the subject of the Leader of the Opposition’s question. In relation to plans for the Canberra Casino, Aquis made their intentions very public, as they are required to do as a publicly listed company in this country.

MR COE: Chief Minister, have you met, whilst abroad, with the owners of Aquis or their representatives?

MR BARR: I would need to check the record on that. I held a number of events in Hong Kong and Singapore on a previous trade mission, where Austrade—

Members interjecting

MR BARR: They were lunches, where Austrade facilitated—

Mr Coe interjecting

MR BARR: Jamie Briggs knows a bit about that. One of my favourite Liberals; that is right. The one who called you guys economic lunatics.

Mr Hanson: You model yourself on him.

MR BARR: Not at Stormies, Madam Speaker; not at Stormies. But I digress.

MADAM SPEAKER: I think you do, Chief Minister.

MR BARR: Austrade facilitated a number of events where I spoke, and there would have been 50 people in the room. I cannot be certain exactly who attended and what connections they may or may not have had to Aquis. But I was presenting on investment opportunities in the ACT more broadly. There was an open invitation to companies who were interested in investing in Australia. Many companies attended those various events in both Singapore and Hong Kong. And that is exactly what you would expect the economic development minister to do whilst abroad: present opportunities for investment in their jurisdiction. That is exactly what I did, at an open invitation event organised through the Austrade network.

MR PARTON: Can we ask: what work is being done to revalue the casino licence?

MR BARR: That is an interesting question. I am not sure that there would need to be any work done to revalue the casino licence, but I will check with the regulator to see whether that is necessary. It is a private sale from one private owner to another. Given the lecture we got this morning from the Leader of the Opposition in relation to government involving itself in private-commercial transactions, it is fascinating to get this line of questioning today.

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