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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2482 ..

Mr Hird: You had an opportunity to come and give evidence.

MS TUCKER: I did speak to the committee. You may have forgotten that. I am saying that I do not believe the concerns I raised with the committee have been taken significantly into account. We do not see why the rush for this in the ACT is necessary. We are different from other States. We do not have huge pressure from an agricultural industry that requires these allocations.

What I have said consistently, and say again at this point, is that we do not know the detail of how this trading will work interstate. We have no necessity to get involved in this at this point. We have an urban water supply, basically. It is very worrying, particularly in light of other government policies such as the privatisation of ACTEW, which we have already talked about at length today. I would like to put as the bottom line once again that water is a very precious resource, and the Greens are not comfortable with it hastily being put into the hands of the private sector, whose main objective, as always, is profit, not necessarily the long-term environmental benefits of good management of water.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Report on Implementation of an Independent Council on Competition Policy

MR QUINLAN (4.06): Mr Speaker, I present Portfolio Committee Report No. 1 from the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio, entitled "Report on an Independent Council on Competition Policy", together with a copy of the extracts of the minutes of proceedings, and I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker, on 27 August the Chief Minister, as required by resolution of this Assembly, Mr Osborne's motion, presented to the Assembly a model for an Independent Council on Competition Policy. The Assembly referred the model to the committee for inquiry and report. The Chief Minister's model followed Assembly debate on 24 June 1998 during which the need for a representative council was clearly in the minds of members. The model put forward provides for an Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission, ICRC, which would continue to exercise the functions of the independent pricing regulator under the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Commission Act 1997.

The proposed ICRC would remain as a single part-time commissioner with the power to receive references from the Government, through the Assembly, and from the community concerning matters of competition policy and competition neutrality across a wide range of commercial activities. It would replace the existing Competition Policy Forum.

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