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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1041 ..

Remainder of Bill, by leave, taken as a whole

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (11.49): I move:

Page 7, line 19, insert the following new clause:

"13A. The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Commission - powers and functions as local Regulator

In its capacity as the local Regulator in relation to a distribution pipeline, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Commission -

(a) may perform a function, or exercise a power if, and only if, the function or power is conferred on it by -

(i) the Gas Pipelines Access (A.C.T.) Law; or

(ii) the gas pipelines access legislation of another scheme participant; and

(b) in so doing, is not subject to control or direction by a Minister.".

Mr Speaker, this is a clause that has been inserted in legislation in the other east coast States and it allows reciprocal arrangements. It actually allows better cross-border relations between the regulators. For instance, it would allow our regulator to work with a New South Wales regulator, say, in regard to the Queanbeyan market. I think it is a reasonable amendment.

MR OSBORNE (11.49): Mr Speaker, I have some problems with Mr Smyth's amendment. It all sounds very nice; but what it does, effectively, is require the Pricing Commissioner to be bound by the legislation of other scheme participants. That is the way that I read it. I find it somewhat worrying that it binds us to other jurisdictions. I am quite happy with the legislation without the amendment, so I will be voting against it.

MR HARGREAVES (11.50): I understand what Mr Osborne is saying. Whilst I support the spirit of what he is saying, all the legislation is affected like that. All of it will be locked into whatever happens in South Australia. I support the Bill, notwithstanding my concerns about that. I make the point that proposed new clause 13A says that the regulator can perform a function only if the ACT gas pipelines access law gives it the okay to do so. We have the power to propose amendments to this ACT law later on if we are not happy with the process. Given that the whole Act is already locked in and there is not a damn thing we can do about it, I suggest that we leave it in there, test the marketplace and then, if we want to change it later on, introduce amendments to the Act.

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