Page 4893 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 25 October 2011

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GST relativities, take into account the effort of jurisdictions in relation to particular areas and, when reforms occur and jurisdictions become more efficient, they are often punished by having a reduction in their GST funding.

Natural disasters

MR HANSON: Treasurer, in the aftermath of the severe natural disasters in Queensland earlier this year, there has been considerable argument about the way in which the recovery from these types of disasters is funded. Treasurer, what is the current policy governing the approach of all Australian jurisdictions to funding recovery from natural disasters?

MR BARR: Under the natural disaster relief and recovery arrangements, the NDRRA, each state and territory is required to put in place insurance arrangements to protect its essential assets. The ACT funds its arrangements through the ACT Insurance Authority.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Treasurer, does the approach of the ACT government satisfy the current policy and, if not, why not?

MR BARR: Yes, it does.

Water—Productivity Commission report

MR SMYTH: A recent report from the Productivity Commission argued in favour of price signals being used to govern the use of water. Subsequently, Actew proposed a system for users to buy exemption from water restrictions. Treasurer, what is the response of the ACT government to the Productivity Commission report?

MR BARR: I note that the next ICRC review of water pricing will examine the pricing of water in an open and transparent manner. I would draw the member’s attention, of course, though, to the Productivity Commission’s report which, when commenting on the scale of the ACT water market, said:

The ACT is also supplied by a single statewide corporation but is not regarded as a potential candidate for disaggregation due to its size and geographic coverage.


MR SMYTH: Treasurer, what are the financial implications for the ACT of the Productivity Commission report?

MR BARR: I am not in a position to provide that information. It would depend on the particular aspects and which aspects of the Productivity Commission report were undertaken within the territory. I do note, though, that, in the reference before, the commission, in looking at the ACT and the scale of our water market, made the statement that I just quoted to the member.

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