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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2339..

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question, but I just answered it a minute ago. We will talk about that when the consultation process is over.

Water-abstraction charge

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Treasurer. In estimates on 22 June, Mr Michael Costello of the Actew Corporation stated:

The WAC-

water abstraction charge-

in 2006-07 will be $137 per household.

On the same day, Mr Roger Broughton of ACT Treasury stated:

... the water abstraction charge on a typical household bill would be around $84.

Mr Costello also stated on 22 June that the impact of the utilities land use permit will be $15, yet you stated in response to a question on notice that if the utilities land use permit costs were passed through to the consumer the impact would be $137. Treasurer, how do you reconcile the significant disparities between these figures provided by senior sources within the ACT government?

MR STANHOPE: In relation to the issue of the differences in quantum provided in estimates by Mr Costello and Mr Broughton, my advice in relation to the differences is on the basis of the question asked or at least, as I understand it, the interpretation which each of Mr Costello and Mr Broughton took of the question. Mr Costello, in referring to a figure of $137 as the impact of the WAC, was responding in the context of the total cost to a household, averaged, of the water abstraction charge of $137-accepting, of course, that a water abstraction charge already applies.

There is already in place a water abstraction charge. In the recent budget the water abstraction charge was increased. Mr Costello's response was a response as to what the new total average water abstraction charge across Canberra will be, namely, $137. Mr Broughton was answering a question on the basis that the question being asked was about the anticipated average cost of the increase in the water abstraction charge and he answered, to the best of his ability: $84.

Mr Mulcahy, the answer to your question as to the discrepancy is simply that Mr Costello, I presume, took your question or the question of the member of the committee to be what the water abstraction charge will be post-budget. The answer, I believe, would be in the order of $137. Mr Broughton was asked a question about the water abstraction charge. He understood the question to be about the quantum of the increase per year and he said $84. I think that if you work out the difference between $137 and $84 you will find that it is the difference between the old water abstraction charge and the new water abstraction charge. So there is no misunderstanding, there is no discrepancy.

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