Page 845 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 March 2005

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MR SPEAKER: Before we move on, I would like to acknowledge and welcome some recent recruits to the Audit Office who have embarked on a familiarisation program in the Assembly building today. You will assist us in accountability, I am sure.

Executive business—precedence

Ordered that executive business be called on forthwith.

Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Bill 2004

Debate resumed from 9 December 2004, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.43): The Liberal opposition will be supporting this bill, although I am in the process of negotiating an amendment. I have spoken to the Chief Minister’s office, but I have not yet had an opportunity to speak to Dr Foskey about it. I will address that a little later in the speech.

At the last election, the ACT Liberal Party committed to implementing the water efficiency labelling scheme, WELS, in line with the national water initiative. WELS is one of the many elements of the national water initiative that have been brought forward through the auspices of the commonwealth government and the fine work that is being done there on addressing the wider and manifold issues of water policy in this country.

The water efficiency labelling scheme is designed to save over the years billions of litres of water in the ACT, in the first instance, and across the nation by alerting consumers, in a very simple and straightforward way, to the water efficiency of particular appliances and encouraging them to purchase those appliances in preference to ones which are less efficient. This is a commendable scheme that the Liberal opposition has strongly supported.

I am sorry, members, in that, in a sense, I need to throw a bit of a spanner in the works this morning. I have not had an opportunity to address this matter directly with Dr Foskey, but I have alerted the environment minister’s office. Over the past week, I have been attempting to obtain some advice from the government as to the meaning of clause 57 of this bill. It has no environmental implications and, although I tried to spell out in words of a small number of syllables that it was a matter of property law, I kept getting advice from environmentalists which told me what I already knew but did not tell me the things that I wanted to explore about the impact that this section would have on property law.

Clause 57 relates to the situation where goods are taken into possession and confiscated for a variety of legitimate reasons under the act. The means of disposing of the goods after they have been used for evidential material are quite unusual. When I first went to parliamentary counsel to ask them about the impetus for this clause and why it was there, parliamentary counsel, quite rightly, said that it came from commonwealth legislation. This is template legislation. They made the point that the provisions of clause 57 were

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