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Legislative Council Hansard
Wednesday 5 March 2008 - Part 2 - Pages 33 - 76


[2.49 p.m.]

Mrs SMITH (Question) - My question is to the Treasurer also, Mr President.  In the Government Gazette of 31 January the Treasurer announced the transfer of some of the assets and liabilities of the Printing Authority to the Government on the sale of the Printing Authority to a particular company.  Can the Treasurer give us information as to what was received for the sale of the old Government Printer, as we called it, and whether or not there were any contracts for printing that were attached to that sale and, if so, what those contracts might have been?

Mr AIRD - I thank the honourable member for her question.  The honourable member describes the process reasonably well in terms of divesting the assets of the Printing Authority.  The sale was completed late last year and the net return to the Government was $2.5 million.  An amount of $1.5 million was cash that was held by the Printing Authority at the time.  So there was a $1 million sale plus $1.5 million cash, the net proceeds back to the Government being $2.5 million.  As far as the actual commercial arrangements relating to the contract are concerned, I would have to check the detail of that but, subject to any confidentiality arrangements about that, I will get back to the honourable member.

Mrs Smith - Are you telling us that there were some contractual arrangements involved in the sale?

Mr AIRD - There would have been some undertaking made in terms of the sale of the business.  I need to clarify the connection between the existing contracts and whether they were immediately transferred as part of the sale or it was a condition after the sale.  I will get back to the honourable member about that.

Mrs Smith - So they are still printing government work?

Mr AIRD - Yes, I just cannot recall the detail and that is why I cannot give the honourable member an accurate answer in terms of the contracts which have been continued under the sale arrangement.

Mrs Smith - But I am safe in saying that when those contracts that were in place have finished, because you believe in competition you will go out to the market and test the market on all of it?

Mr AIRD - Yes, there will be an opportunity, depending on the level of service and the relationship.  With an agency like Parliament I think there is an ongoing relationship for a period of time.  But again, I would need to clarify that.  Regarding the longer term, yes, there will be some contestability about government business being available to any printer operating, probably in Australia.

• Lois in Comments: So this is why The Mercury/Davies Brothers Pty Ltd (Mr Rupert MURDOCH) controls all the paper-media* in Tasmania and why successive Tasmanian Governments pay them to even print the “Budget Papers”, act as The Government Printer, print Local Government publications (Glenorchy & Brighton) Derwent Valley Gazettes just to name a few. What does the ACCC think about this? it seems we have all been “hoodwinked” and continue to be kept in the dark like Mushrooms and fed BS. *Ed: Fairfax controls Advocate and Examiner