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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 6 Hansard (4 May) . .

Page.. 1449..


could also undertake general research and analysis of budget papers and financial policy settings.

What the bill proposes is that the PBO become an officer of the Assembly to guarantee that independence. The bill has in it a range of safeguards to ensure a robust appointment process and, if necessary, a dismissal process for inappropriate behaviour. In particular, it provides for protection of confidential information so that the PBO can go to Treasury or various departments to request information about particular services, and that request must remain inside the appropriate service.

We are approaching a period where the services of a PBO would deliver maximum value. I believe that it would be appropriate to pass this bill in June which, of course, would be the budget sitting itself. I do not expect that the PBO would cost a great deal. One of the provisions of the bill is that the PBO would be appointed for a period of up to four years. In effect, you could have a PBO for a whole term. You could find somebody who gets experience at looking at the four budgets that lead up to the next election. That would be useful in terms of continuity. The act provides for the PBO to be appointed for potentially up to two terms.

The explanatory statement just gives the overall arrangements about how it would work. We have relied very heavily on the federal legislation which seems to be working very well. What it does is give the PBO protection. What it does is give ordinary members protection. What it does is give the confidentiality that is required to make this work. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Barr) adjourned to the next sitting.

Unit Titles (Management) Amendment Bill 2016

Mr Coe, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (10.16): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Today I am pleased to table the Unit Titles (Management) Amendment Bill 2016 and its explanatory statement. This is a straightforward bill designed to fix a problem in the current unit titles legislation. It has been prepared in response to concerns from unit owners about the unfair way they are charged for water usage.

Historically, many units were built with one water meter and individual owners were charged for a proportion of their water use. The proportion was usually the total charge divided by the number of units. This is a simple way of dividing usage, but it is not fair. This approach means that people who use large amounts of water are paying for less; meanwhile others may well be paying more. This means there is no incentive for people to be careful with water usage.


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