Page 826 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 27 February 2013

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MR SESELJA: My question is to the Treasurer. The ICRC, in their media release in relation to the draft report, stated:

This conclusion underpins the Commission’s proposal for significant reductions in both water and sewerage services prices from 1 July 2013 with per kilolitre charges for water falling by 16.9 per cent.

Treasurer, were water prices set higher than necessary throughout last year?

MR BARR: Again, I refer the Senate candidate to my previous answers. The ICRC sets prices independent of government, and Mr Seselja would be best served—

Mr Smyth: A point of order, Madam Speaker. Under standing orders members are only to be addressed by their correct title or name. I ask you to bring the minister to order.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Smyth. Last sitting we had this discussion—that members are referred to by their name, or, if they have a title, like “Leader of the Opposition” or “Treasurer”, that is the way that you refer to them.

Mr Gentleman: Senator.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Gentleman, that does not include “senator” or “senator-elect”. It is not a title that is used in this place, and I do not expect you to interrupt or interject like a little kid when I am making a ruling. So, Mr Barr, could you refer to Mr Seselja by his name.

MR BARR: As I was saying, Madam Speaker, Mr Seselja would be best to look at previous ICRC price determinations.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Seselja.

MR SESELJA: Treasurer, will the ACT government submission to this report recommend that prices be reduced by the amount stated in the draft report?

MR BARR: As I said yesterday, the government will consider the issues that have been raised. There are a number of very sensible recommendations contained within the ICRC’s draft recommendations, and we will consider those and make our submission in due course.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Treasurer, what impact have these high water prices had on the cost of living for Canberrans?

MR BARR: That would depend on the amount of water consumed.

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