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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3989..

(2) No new investments have been made since the commencement of the Agents Act 2003 on 1 November 2003. $2.17 million of the funds controlled by the board as at 31 October 2003 were transferred to the Consumer Compensation Fund on 1 November 2003. This fund is the equivalent of the Fidelity Guarantee Fund under the repealed Act and is invested with the ACT Public Trustee. $9.88 million remains in the Department of Justice and Community Safety (JACS) Trust Account. A further transfer of funds from the JACS Trust Account to the Public Trustee for investment purposes is planned in early 2004-05.

(3) The return on investments:

(a) in 2002-03 was 7.32%; and

(b) for the period 1 July 2003 until 31 October 2003 was 1.18% and from 1 November 2003 to 30 June 2004 the return was 5.12% on the funds invested with the Public Trustee and 4.975% on funds held by the Commonwealth Bank.

ActewAGL accounts

(Question No 1717)

Mr Cornwell asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 2 August 2004:

(1) Are ACTEW accounts for gas, water and electricity bills due within six days of each other in the Tuggeranong region;

(2) Is it intended to have these accounts also falling due within six days of each other in other regions of the A.C.T.;

(3) Why has it been decided to require payment within six days of each other for these accounts;

(4) Will steps be taken to stagger these bills in future; if not, why not.

Mr Quinlan

: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) Yes.

(3) ACTEW has advised me that ActewAGL is aligning meter readings for gas, electricity and water services across the Territory. Previously, meter readings for gas in all areas of Canberra were conducted independently from electricity and water which resulted in customers receiving accounts over varying timeframes depending on where they lived. Some customers received electricity, water and gas on the same day, others up to six weeks apart depending on the reading route they were in.

Aligning meter readings and reducing the number of visits by staff to each premises improves ActewAGL's operating efficiency and reduces costs. As retail billing of these services follows directly from the meter readings, billing is also aligned as a result.

(4) ACTEW has advised that there are no plans to revert to 'staggered' bills in the future.

However, ACTEW has also advised that ActewAGL provides a range of innovative payment options to help its customers manage their account payments. Customers who

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