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Liberals against privatisation?

By johnboy - 21 April 2009 16

In a curious move for a Liberal, Brendan Smyth is fretting that Territory-Owned Corporations (to hereafter be known as TOCs because I like the sound of the word) might get sold off by the ACT Government to fund their stimulus spending.

There’s certainly an issue with trying to sell anything in the current market.

One should also never discount the possibility that the Liberals are just concerned there won’t be anything left to sell when (if?) they finally claw their way back into power.

Brendan certainly has a keen eye on what’s available for sale, having compiled a handy list for our consideration:

    ACTEW Corporation, ACTION, ACTTAB Limited, Exhibition Park Corporation and TransACT Communications

So, assuming a buyer can be found at a decent price, what would you flog first to shore up the bottom line?

The first TOC on the block should be:

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16 Responses to
Liberals against privatisation?
bd84 10:21 pm 22 Apr 09

BeyondThought said :

Why is it Chairman Jon owns a TAB anyway?

The majority of TABs throughout Australia were originally owned by the government. They still are in the ACT, TAS, WA and QLD?.

BeyondThought 9:26 pm 22 Apr 09

Why is it Chairman Jon owns a TAB anyway?

bd84 10:32 pm 21 Apr 09

The answer is ACTTAB, it’s not viable to be goverment owned in the long-term especially with no affiliation after 2011(?)

EPIC will become part of TAMS from 1 July 09.
ACTION would have to be subsidised even if sold off, as it’s not economically viable as an actual business.
ACTEW Corp is already half privatised through the ACTEWAGL Joint Venture, it may eventually go after ACTTAB does.
Transact is not a TOC. The only relation to the ACT Government is that ACTEW Corporation is a shareholder. It is not a controlling shareholder either, as there are 5 other shareholders.

TP 3000 9:02 pm 21 Apr 09

Wasn’t ACTION about to be privatized by the Liberals before Labour gained power & stopped it?

Also I thought that ACTEWAGL had already be sold off with TransACT a private company to start off with.

trevar 8:25 pm 21 Apr 09

Sounds like the Libs might be able to sell Calvary Hospital…

taninaus 7:26 pm 21 Apr 09

The Government made a decision last budget I think to bring EPIC back under TAMS didn’t they? The same problem we had with Kate Carnell – this only gives us one off money for capital works or maybe the investment pool but it doesn’t necessarily give recurrent money which is what we need for improved services.

You just have to look at the budget to see how much subsidy some of these are getting. some give a dividend but not all.

BerraBoy68 6:18 pm 21 Apr 09

johnboy said :

In most places the Government subsidises the operators, but doesn’t own them, which at least gives the opportunity to switch to a better operator if one comes along.

Agreed, as long as you have a contractual framework that assures the transition process is as painless as possible. Use of an Award Term (i.e. automatic contract extension) that incentivises the operator to perform the contract to a high level could also be used to drive contractor performance.

enrique 3:48 pm 21 Apr 09

I would have thought that ACTTAB would’ve have been one of the more profitable business on that list.

Why sell the thing that gives us the best return on investment?

Of course, I’m purely speculating here – I don’t have any actual figures to go on. It would be interesting to know what each business returned.

Not sure you could sell off ACTION…it runs at a consistent loss doesn’t it? Something to do with not enough passengers/population and too much surface area to cover?

johnboy 3:12 pm 21 Apr 09

In most places the Government subsidises the operators, but doesn’t own them, which at least gives the opportunity to switch to a better operator if one comes along.

chewy14 2:53 pm 21 Apr 09

If ACTION was ever sold, the new private company would cut back on Routes, buses would not run on time and they would charge more.
Wait a minute ……

monomania 2:35 pm 21 Apr 09

ACTEW should not be sold but should retain its water infrastructure. It can then contract out water supply and asset maintenance to those companies that will provide the best service.

What should be sold in better times is the half share it has in the ActewAGL partnership, its 50% of Ecowise Environmental and the 18% of the share it still has in TransACT. ACTEW should then change its name to differentiate itself completely from ActewAGL and TransACT.

ActewAGL is in fact half owned by the private sector. The other two owners are AGL and Jemena a company entirely owned by the Singapore Government.

Who would ever buy ACTION?

johnboy 1:28 pm 21 Apr 09

On the other hand with EPIC, maybe new owners would invest in the facility and promote it better, getting more major events in allowing them to offer a better deal to the existing users?

harvyk1 12:08 pm 21 Apr 09

I could see ACTEW or ACTTAB as being first to be sold. ACTEW potentially to AGL (so they control all our services). ACTTAB may potentially be purchased by NSW TAB as it would simply be another feather in it’s cap.

I don’t know if EPIC would be easily sold as from what I’ve gathered most exhibition parks \ halls etc tend to be owned by the operating company. Of course I could have that completely wrong.

ACTION is losing money and probably couldn’t run in the private sector without serious changes.

TransACT is also from what I know not in the best shape. They’d have been quite a good buy had they won the ACT component of the NBN. Without that, and with the fed gov’t building effectively a competing network I doubt TransACT will be around for too much longer. (It’s already assisted by ACTEWAGL.)

amarooresident2 11:56 am 21 Apr 09

Brendan is making it up to stir up some trouble. Note the lack of evidence.

M Rose 11:30 am 21 Apr 09

I assumed the Exhibition Park Corporation is EPIC, and while it was my first reaction to vote for it, I fear it may have a negative impact on the National Folk Festival, Summernats or the Canberra Show. I don’t care much for the two latter, I don’t think I could live without the National. Surely it is foreseeable that privatisation would affect these events?

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