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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1563..


Thursday, 5 May 2016

MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission Amendment Bill 2016

Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Urban Renewal) (10.01): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I present to the Assembly the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission Amendment Bill 2016. In October of 2015, the government tabled in the Assembly its formal response to the review of the water and sewerage pricing framework undertaken by Mr Peter Grant. The Grant review was commissioned by the government to action its commitment to review the water and sewerage pricing framework, made as part of its formal response to the Auditor-General's report, The water and sewerage pricing process, report No 2 of 2014.

The Grant review incorporated a comprehensive review of the legislative framework in which regulated prices are set in the territory by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission. Within his considerations, Mr Grant made a number of recommendations that outlined reforms to improve the legislative framework. Within its formal response to the Grant review, the government committed to introduce in 2016 a bill to implement agreed amendments to the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission Act 1997—the ICRC act.

Madam Speaker, the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission Amendment Bill 2016 represents the key mechanism for implementing these reforms. While the ICRC act has provided a strong basis for the operation of the regulatory system since its introduction in 1997, as identified by Mr Grant in his review, there is opportunity to clarify its provisions and improve the overall operation of the act.

The bill incorporates a number of significant changes to the legislative framework for the provision of regulated pricing services in the territory. One area of the framework where substantial reforms are proposed is the provisions for review of a price direction handed down by the commission.


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