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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 10 Hansard (13 August) . . Page.. 2861..

I am pleased that the Assembly has stepped up and played its role in supporting the first of many red tape reduction bills coming through the red tape reduction task force that I chair. The bill that was passed in this place last week extends licence periods for Canberra businesses, including real estate agencies, motor vehicle repairers and travel agents. The online reporting tool now provides an easier way to inform government about what red tape needs reduction, needs fixing. Registration stickers have been abolished.

The second stage of the reforms is underway, focusing on streamlining approvals for outdoor dining, the online lodging of rental bonds. We are also beginning the preliminary work on the UC public hospital, city to lake and capital metro projects, which support small business (Time expired.)


MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call members for questions, I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of officers from the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate, who are here as part of the Assembly's education program. I welcome you to your Assembly.

Questions without notice

Water—Murray-Darling Basin

MR DOSZPOT: Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development. Under the Murray-Darling Basin management plan signed into law on 22 November 2012, the commonwealth government restored an $85 million grant to the ACT for catchment management projects. You have been on the record as saying:

It's needed first and foremost to purchase long-term water entitlements for the territory to guarantee water security ...

I am currently in negotiations with the Commonwealth on that very matter and that must be the first priority.

Minister, can you update the Assembly on whether the funds have been received?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Doszpot for the question. Since that time, the commonwealth, through the former minister, Minister Burke, has indicated that the commonwealth government does not support the allocation of those funds for the purchase of water security entitlements. This was a changed position on the part of the commonwealth. Since that time, however, there has also been an agreement reached between the commonwealth and the ACT that that $85 million will instead be used to improve catchment management in the ACT. That funding is now reflected in an exchange of letters between me and Minister Burke and is contingent on the commonwealth accepting a business case on the expenditure of that $85 million. The ACT has submitted that business case and we are currently awaiting a decision from the commonwealth on that business case.

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