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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 10 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 2976 ..

MR OSBORNE (4.38): Mr Speaker, I will be very brief. I think it is important that I acknowledge what Mr De Domenico has said today, given that it came about as a result of my amendment to the ACTEW Corporation Act over 12 months ago. I have to say, however, that I have been a little disappointed with the speed, or rather lack of, to this point. However, as I said on a previous occasion in this Assembly, I did receive a briefing from Mr Turner. I am pleased that it has finally come about. The main reason that I took this issue up was that I felt the need for an independent pricing tribunal. I thought that it was imperative that the people of the ACT have their best interests taken into account. As I said, I am very pleased that it has come about. I thank the Minister and Mr Turner for their assistance in getting it up here today.

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services) (4.39), in reply: Very quickly, I thank Mr Wood and Mr Osborne for their contributions. I will find out the information that Mr Wood has asked of me. Can I also thank Mr Osborne because, as he acknowledges, it was his idea and his amendment. Can I also say, though, that, taking into account what Mr Osborne said about his not being satisfied with the speed at which this was done, it was very important to make sure that, once we did do what Mr Osborne suggested we should do and what this Assembly voted for, it was done properly.

Can I also suggest that we had to make sure that the person we finally appointed to the position was the best available person in town. That happened. We had to consult with Mr Wood's committee as well. We had to make sure that all the regulations were according to Hoyle and above board. We had to make sure that all the terms of references were in line with the New South Wales Government's guidelines because it was, after all, the New South Wales tribunal's services that we contracted out as well. As Mr Osborne would probably realise, when government to government negotiations take place, they just do not happen overnight.

I acknowledge that Mr Osborne is now a lot happier than he was before, and I acknowledge his role in making sure that we now do have an independent tribunal that keeps the Government at arm's length from any decisions made on the pricing of electricity, water and sewerage charges by ACTEW. Can I say, as Minister, I am also delighted that perhaps from time to time, when Ministers do have to make decisions on putting prices up, at least members opposite have somebody else to kick and not this Minister; although Mr Berry will probably kick me anyway, so it does not matter.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General): Mr Speaker, pursuant to section 6 of the Subordinate Laws Act 1989, I present subordinate legislation in accordance with the schedule of gazettal notices for determinations and regulations. I also present a notice for the commencement of two Acts.

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