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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3477..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

upon which the provision of essential services is based. These relationships need to be constructive and transparent interactions of mutual respect as we work together to provide Canberrans with some of the best utility services in the country.

This current bill focuses upon ensuring that the role performed by the ICRC will remain financially viable and financially independent, allowing them to provide quality analysis and decision making. The Utilities Amendment Bill allows new functions given to the ICRC under the national reform agenda to be included in its determination of licence fees. This ensures that the ICRC can recover reasonable costs from industry for the detailed work that it performs under the national energy codes.

This amendment reflects the situation in other jurisdictions, effectively allowing work undertaken by regulators under all its utility rated acts and codes to be included in the licence fee structure. The amendment also retains the transparency and flexibility needed for future national changes to be adequately incorporated as the reforms continue. I look forward to all my Assembly colleagues supporting this straightforward and commonsense amendment, which will ensure that the role of the ICRC as an independent regulator will be adequately maintained. This amendment will ensure that the balance of providing sustainable and essential services is retained through this time of reform and change. I therefore commend the Utilities Amendment Bill to the Assembly.

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

Small Business Commissioner Bill 2004

Mr Quinlan,

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

Title read by Clerk.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming, and Acting Minister for Planning) (10.40): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, I am pleased to present the Small Business Commissioner Bill 2004 to the ACT Legislative Assembly. In launching the economic white paper in December 2003, the government committed to the goal of establishing the ACT as the most friendly small business location in Australia. This means that the ACT will develop a reputation for being a hassle-free place to do business where the effort and endeavour of small business is appropriately rewarded and recognised.

This bill is a significant response to this aspiration. It also caps off an array of initiatives the government has now implemented for small business development in the ACT. Policies and initiatives which flow largely from the government's economic white paper are incorporated. I can now inform the Assembly that approximately $128 million has to date been committed to the economic white paper initiatives through the third appropriation bill of 2003-04 and the 2004-05 budget. Although our financial commitment to establish a Small Business Commissioner is a very small component of

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