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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3602 ..

In regard to other incidents, there have been some that have been advised to me in briefings. I will take the detail of the question on notice.

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, how long has JACS had the report from the inspector on this incident, and when can we expect it to be tabled, as you mentioned?

MR GENTLEMAN: I do not believe that JACS has the report to date. It is due any moment. As soon as it comes to me, I will be able to forward it to JACS.

MR HANSON: Minister, what risks have officers identified with current AMC practices in relation to hospital escorts, and what has been done to address and resolve them?

MR GENTLEMAN: There has been some advice to me in regard to concerns from COs about hospital escorts. They have been around vehicles, for example, and there have already been some changes in operational controls around how those escorts run. I am pleased that Acting Commissioner Ray Johnson has been at the forefront in making those changes where he has seen the responses from COs to make them necessary. We will continue to make those changes when COs come to us with these particular issues or where the inspector of corrections makes those recommendations to us.

Canberra—cost of living

MS LAWDER: My question is to the Chief Minister: at the last election you promised Canberrans that a re-elected Labor-Greens government would lower the cost of doing business and lower the cost of living. In the June quarter 2021 Canberra house prices rose 8.2 per cent, the highest in the country. Inflation in the ACT has risen 3.7 per cent in the 12 months to September 2021, the second highest in the country. On 7 June 2021 the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission allowed an increase of electricity prices of 11.95 per cent from 1 July 2021, and in your own 2021-22 budget papers you say that rates revenue will increase 28 per cent between 2019-20 and 2023-24. Canberrans are now paying higher rates, higher electricity, highest rental costs of any city in Australia, and higher water and sewerage. Chief Minister, is this lowering the cost of doing business and cost of living?

MR BARR: In each of the instances that Ms Lawder has outlined where there have been increases there were preceding falls in the regulatory period before, particularly as that relates to electricity, inflation and water and sewerage charges. There have certainly been movements up and down within the regulatory frameworks associated with the independent price setting in those areas. I note I did not get any questions from the opposition when the prices were falling. We will, given what is happening in the various energy markets and otherwise, see as we come out of the pandemic that the ACT’s contract for difference and price hedging in terms of a fixed price for the security of our renewable energy contract, for example, will again protect Canberrans from prices rising as they have been in the case of petrol prices when demand recovers and/or supply is impacted.

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