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The discussion about the centenary of Federation led to an agreement to establish a working group of officials to progress arrangements for the celebration. The working group will be chaired by the Commonwealth. I believe that the ACT can take a major role in this group and that we have a lot to gain by encouraging the group to consider Canberra as a major venue for centenary-related activities.

As a result of the hard work that was undertaken at the leaders forums in November 1994 and February 1995, treaties were listed on the agenda. The States and Territories put forward a forceful argument for reform of the treaties process.

Mr Moore: Hear, hear!

MRS CARNELL: I agree. These reforms include better consultation - again I say, “Hear, hear!” - and increased accountability to Federal Parliament. It was agreed that the reforms will be discussed by the Commonwealth-State Standing Committee on Treaties. Council also considered the issues of Northern Territory statehood, water resource policy and regulatory reform. In regard to Northern Territory statehood, the Commonwealth has decided to work with the Northern Territory to consider issues relating to the possible grant of statehood. In the areas of water resource policy and regulatory reform, council agreed to the release of three documents - the Second Report of the Working Group on Water Resource Policy; the Report of the Expert Group on Asset Valuation Methods and Cost-Recovery Definitions for the Australian Water Industry; and Principles and Guidelines for National Standard Setting and Regulatory Action. Details of these reports are provided in the communique. I table the communique and a copy of this statement. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the papers.

Debate (on motion by Mr Berry) adjourned.


Ministerial Statement

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for Arts and Heritage): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement on raising the profile of our local heritage.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, with Heritage Week just over, it is timely for me to focus on our ACT heritage. The Government recognises the importance of the ACT’s cultural heritage sites and is committed to ensuring the conservation, protection and enhancement of the ACT's cultural and natural heritage resources. I would like, in particular, to focus on the important roles the Government and the community have, as partners, in raising community awareness and fostering an appreciation of those places and objects which have intrinsic value to us as a community.

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