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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3681 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

other operating rules will be specified through regulations or through contracts with operators. However, if this measure is to be supported by an offence and a penalty, it must be enacted by legislation.

In conclusion, I wish to finish my remarks with a plea for a very calm and careful debate within this Assembly. In the next few weeks we each face an important test of our beliefs and our responsibilities. In recent weeks I have tried to ensure that all members are fully empowered by access to information on this issue to allow them to make an informed decision. I hope the members appreciate what has been, I think, a very full and frank presentation of the Government's position. I renew my offer, already made in writing, for any member to seek through my office any relevant information that I might be able to provide. I commend this Bill to the Assembly.

Mr Kaine: Mr Speaker, I have a point of order on a procedural matter. This Bill is being presented under the heading of Executive Business. Given that the Liberal Party has recently enacted a policy on this matter and that certain members of the Government have indicated that they support that policy, then I cannot see how this can be Government Executive Business. Perhaps it should have been under the heading of Executive Members Business.

MR MOORE: Perhaps I can clarify, Mr Speaker. The Bill has passed through Cabinet, it has Cabinet approval, and it is Government Business.

Mr Kaine: My point is that those members who have publicly said that they will not enact this legislation without a referendum are acting contrary to that undertaking.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned.


MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (11.11): Mr Speaker, I present the Water Resources Amendment Bill 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR SMYTH: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, members will recall that in the last budget the Government decided to introduce a water abstraction charge in order to foster the efficient use of the Territory's water resources. The purpose of this amendment is to enable more appropriate payment arrangements to be put in place for the payment of annual charges under the Water Resources Act 1998 such as the abstraction charge. It does not introduce any new fee. The amendment will only affect the way in which the fees are collected.

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