Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 August 2017) . . Page.. 2422 ..
There is another element of the amendment that I am very pleased about: the last item, because it actually goes further than Mr Coe’s motion and addresses the underlying issue of the procurement process for the agreements. This is a key part of the agreement for me. It is something that the Greens worked on with the government and was critical for our support for the amendment.
The reality is that, whether or not the arrangements are currently good or bad, they have been put in place and they have to be implemented. But going forward, Icon Water is a 100 per cent territory-owned corporation and is ultimately responsible to its owner, the territory. The shareholders, as representatives of the territory, have an obligation to ensure that Icon Water follows, at the very least, normal practice with regard to market testing and making sure there is value for money in contracts.
On my reading, the last item of the amendment is quite sensibly worded and I think that any sensible board member will read it and get a very clear message: do better in 2023.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (6.17): I am of course disappointed with the outcome of today’s motion. It is not going to necessarily see the provision of this document. I struggle to comprehend that it is not within the purview of this place to demand that this document be published. I am really struggling, especially given the fact that they are subject to the Freedom of Information Act and they come before this place through the annual reports process, through the estimates process and through the annual report hearings process, that we cannot request this. Quite frankly, even if it is marginal who is going to be taking this issue to court, the ACT government should seek to test this in the form of the current motion.
I think it is extremely disappointing. The government obviously have a reason why they do not want to release these documents. I think that there is likely to be more to be revealed about the content of these two documents and also about the circumstances around their signing. I have it, I think on reasonable authority, that there are some twists and turns still to come with regard to these documents, if we are ever able to actually see them.
I do not think it is best practice. I think it is outrageous that Canberra households have to pay considerably more for their water bills to accommodate what is a terrible arrangement. It is all very well for Mr Barr to talk about independence and commercial operations but I do not know any companies whose shareholders would allow them to pay perhaps 10 times the price of a service that should be in the vicinity I think of more like $3 million. It is absolutely outrageous that Canberra taxpayers are being duped in this fashion by the ACT government.
I am very disappointed that the motion is not getting up but the Canberra Liberals will continue to be vigilant in seeking these documents because I think we owe it to Canberra taxpayers and to all users of water in the territory to make sure that we have a much better understanding of why the $30 million annually deals have been done.
Amendment agreed to.