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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 8 May 2008) . . Page.. 1572 ..

Mr Speaker, the introduction of this unique scheme into the Assembly today is another step towards affordable housing for those households in stress. The scheme will add another housing alternative for households to choose in achieving their goal of home ownership. The bill is a practical step in addressing the issue of affordable housing in the ACT, and I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

National Gas (ACT) Bill 2008

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, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (10.44): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the ACT is continuing to participate in the national energy market reforms that are rationalising the economic regulation of energy across Australia. This will increase efficient investment in energy infrastructure leading to long-run benefits for ACT energy consumers. The energy market reforms are ratified by the commonwealth and all states and territories under the Australian energy market agreement. This agreement defines the objectives, the structure and timing of the reforms. The agreement schedules the transfer of most state and territory energy market economic regulation functions to a national regime and the phasing out of associated jurisdictional functions.

Under the terms of the agreement, the national energy legislation operates under a national cooperative legislative scheme in which South Australia is the lead legislator. Other states, territories and the commonwealth apply the relevant schedules of the South Australian legislation as laws in their respective jurisdictions through application acts. This means that the reform is not a commonwealth legislative takeover.

The bill I am presenting in the Assembly today will apply the national gas legislation that consists of the national gas law, regulations and the national gas rules. It is similar to the revised national electricity law which came into effect across all jurisdictions on 1 January this year. The national gas legislation will transfer the governance and institutional arrangements of the current gas access regime to the national framework, where the Australian Energy Regulator is responsible for economic regulation and enforcement and the Australian Energy Market Commission is responsible for rule making and market development.

The national gas legislation also implements reforms developed by the ministerial council on energy in response to the Productivity Commission’s review of the gas

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