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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 4426..


Mr Stanhope presented the following paper:

Legal Aid Act, pursuant to section 8 (3) (a)-Legal Aid (Funding Agreement, Family Law Costs Limitation Guideline)-Direction 2003, dated 5 November 2003, including an explanatory statement and an agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and the ACT in relation to the provision of legal assistance.

Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission

Paper and statement by minister

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (3.37): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the following paper:

Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission-Report No 13 of 2003-Final Report-Water abstraction charge, dated 10 October 2003.

I ask for leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, I present this ICRC report to the Assembly for the information of members. In May 2003, I issued a reference to the commission to investigate and provide advice to the government on the appropriate level and methodology for calculation of the water abstraction charge pursuant to the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission Act of 1997. The final report was released by the commission on 10 October 2003.

The government welcomes the commission's report and notes that the current WAC of 10c per kilolitre is not considered sufficient to cover the full economic cost to government of obtaining water. The commission has recommended that the level of the WAC be increased to 20c per kilolitre from 1 January 2004. This is in line with government policy announced in the 2003-2004 budget. The WAC will be increased to 20c per kilolitre from 1 January 2004 and to 25c per kilolitre in 2005-2006.

The objective of the water abstraction charge is to price water in a manner which reflects its true economic cost. Charging the full cost to cover externalities incurred by government, such as catchment management and environmental and scarcity values, is consistent with both the Council of Australian Governments' water reform requirements and the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand guidelines.

I wish to thank the senior commissioner, Mr Paul Baxter, and his fellow commissioners, Ms Robin Creyke and Mr Peter McGhie, and the commission staff for their work on this report.

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