Page 846 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 March 2005

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unprecedented in any ACT legislation. What it means is that, if material taken into possession for evidentiary purposes is no longer needed, only the person who has legal ownership of them has the right to recover them under this procedure.

That was my suspicion but, unfortunately, it has taken me until this morning to clarify it, and it was not with the assistance of the government that I have been able to clarify it. As a result, I am in the process of commissioning an amendment to clarify the law and bring it more into line with common law as it stands in the ACT so that not only people who are the owners of the material but also people who have lawful possession at the time it was confiscated have the right to have it returned to them.

I apologise to members that I have not had an opportunity to speak to them directly about this matter, and I particularly apologise to Dr Foskey, because this has been done at the last minute, which is not my preferred way of operating. My proposal to members is that we agree with this bill in principle and that, when we get to the detail stage, we adjourn debate to a later hour this day.

The Liberal opposition strongly supports the principles of WELS, but we have this concern about the impact that this provision may inadvertently have on property law in the ACT. I wholeheartedly support the principles of the bill.

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (10.48): I am pleased to speak on the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Bill 2004. The bill is the ACT counterpart of a national scheme of legislation to give effect to the national water efficiency labelling and standards scheme, better known as WELS.

The purpose of the bill is to provide for the establishment and operation of a nationally consistent scheme to apply state water efficiency labelling and minimum performance standards to certain water use products. The aim of the water efficiency labelling is to encourage the uptake of water efficient products and appliances in domestic and commercial areas while maintaining individual choice and accounting for regional variations in water supply.

Of course, in today’s climate we are all aware of how important it is to conserve water. Water is a precious commodity—one that should be used sparingly and responsibly. I think now, more than at any other time in our history, those of us in the cities are becoming more and more aware of that. Our brothers and sisters in country areas have long been aware of the need to conserve water. It is much more of a pressing issue when you live in regional and inland areas of Australia. You know that water is a finite resource.

Those of us who have grown up on the coast, as I certainly did, although I had plenty of relatives who lived inland and I visited them on a regular basis, do forget that at times, especially those living in Sydney, where water always seemed to be in plentiful supply; you just turned on the tap and out it came.

The bill’s main objectives are to conserve water supplies by reducing water consumption, to provide information for purchasers of water use products and to promote the adoption of efficient and effective water use technology. This bill is a step in the process of putting into place the ACT part of WELS. The scheme is expected to conserve

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