Page 1835 - Week 06 - Thursday, 5 May 2005

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Thursday, 5 May 2005

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Standing order 118A

Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: Members, just after question time yesterday, Mrs Dunne raised an issue in relation to standing order 118A. At this point, I am in the process of considering Hansard and the standing order in question, and I will be making an announcement some time before question time today.

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I was going to ask you to revisit that matter, so I appreciate your statement that you are doing so. In your consideration of that matter, I refer you to Hansard of the Senate—

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, why do you not wait until you hear from me and then you will have a chance to raise it? If you do not have a point of order to raise at this point, I suggest we just press on with business.

Utilities (Shortage of Essential Services) Amendment Bill 2005

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (10.32): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Several government and intergovernmental initiatives have been undertaken to improve and secure the provision of electricity, gas and water services to ACT residents. My government has been working to protect and enhance these essential services. Without secure sources of electricity, gas and water and the ability to deal with situations where these supplies are scarce or disrupted, Canberra could not maintain its excellent standards of living.

The Utilities (Shortage of Essential Services) Amendment Bill is an example of the government’s responsible approach and our prudent planning on behalf of the people of Canberra. Shortages of electricity, gas or water may be caused by demand due to extreme or unseasonable weather, or incidents such as bushfires, severe storms or critical malfunctions in energy supply infrastructure, and the consequences of these shortages could be significant.

This bill creates a robust legislative framework to allow restrictions on the use of utility services in cases where supply is or could become insufficient. The new legislation also

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