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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 5189..


I think it is very unfortunate that some of the areas in my paragraph (2) have been taken out. I draw members' attention to something that I discussed in my introductory comments. Paragraph (2) asks that we commission "an independent assessment of the impact of the proposed basin plan on the net economic benefit of Actew Corporation's current major water security projects".

This is a very important issue. I think that the minister has some understanding of the importance of this. There was some recognition during the discussions we had today that this may be something that we have to address further down the track, irrespective of whether it has been thrown out today, because, if we get to a situation where we are having to go to the commonwealth and make demands in relation to compensation, this is a piece of information that we will need to know.

If the Murray-Darling Basin plan, as it currently stands, is implemented, it will change the net economic benefit of our water security. That might not be something that we want to look at and we might not be very comfortable about the result of that because we made, in this territory, decisions about water security infrastructure based on a whole lot of parameters which have been changed or are potentially changed by this plan.

The fact that the commonwealth signed up to a cap arrangement, a 40 gigalitres plus growth plus credits for what we had not used previously—and that has not been addressed today either in this debate—and have reneged on that commitment is a very serious issue. If they persist in their reneging on that commitment, it will change the value of the net economic benefit of our water infrastructure. It is something that we need to know. We need to understand, we need to be able to quantify, because somewhere along the line it will become a live element. It may become a live element in negotiations in relation to compensation if we are left out in the cold.

I do not want to get to that point. I again encourage the minister to be, in the words of the Bard, bloody, bold and resolute about this, because this is an important issue. There has been too much in the minister's utterances over time that, if anything goes really pear shaped, we will talk to the commonwealth about compensation. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We get to the stage where the minister has become so focused on compensation that he may not be out there resolutely looking after the ACT's interests. I hope, as Mr Seselja has noted, that the minister's apparent increase in resolution today is translated into his negotiations in the future.

I would encourage the minister to be open with members of the Assembly about the approaches he takes on this important issue because, even though Mr Barr thinks it is hilarious, it is an important issue. It is an important issue for the people of the ACT and I would encourage the minister—

Mr Barr interjecting

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Order, Mr Barr! Please do not engage.


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