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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2483 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

The committee identified three principal issues, namely, whether the proposed new ICRC would be appropriate for its tasks outlined by the Chief Minister, whether it should be a single commissioner or comprise a representative council, and whether it would be both accessible and accountable to the Assembly and to the wider community.

Following detailed examination of these issues, the committee considers that an Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission incorporating changes to the Chief Minister's model which are outlined in the report would be an appropriate independent body capable of identifying the public interest across a broad spectrum of activities. The committee recommends an ICRC of five commissioners, with a chair of appropriate standing within the community. Remember that the genesis of this matter before the committee concerned the public benefit dimension of competition policy. Therefore, the committee agreed that we needed a representative council and that it was asking a bit too much of a single individual to take into account all the dimensions of the public benefit or public interest.

The committee recommends a pricing regulator as a separate entity but recommends that it could be incorporated into the overall council. Effectively, the independent pricing regulator would be a member of the council. There would be cross-fertilisation between that regulator and the other members of the council in the council's considerations of the wider questions of competition policy.

The committee recommends defined criteria for the ICRC to assess Territory and public interest in accepting references for inquiry from the community. It recommends provision for references by government through the Assembly and provision for the council to initiate its own inquiries. It recommends appropriate reporting arrangements for the council. It also recommends that the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee be consulted on appointments to the council. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Report on Draft Guidelines for the Treatment of Commercial Information
Held by Government Agencies

MR QUINLAN (4.10): Mr Speaker, I present the Portfolio Committee Report No. 2 of the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio, entitled "Report on Draft Guidelines for the Treatment of Commercial Information Held by ACT Government Agencies", together with a copy of the extracts of the minutes of proceedings. I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker, on 24 September the Chief Minister presented to the Assembly a paper embodying draft principles and guidelines for the treatment of commercial information held by government agencies. The paper was referred to this committee for inquiry and report. There is a background to the paper. Providing commercial information to

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