Page 2502 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.03 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

ACTEW Corporation Ltd—water prices

MR HANSON: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, on 26 June 2013 the ICRC’s water determination increased water prices by five per cent rather than the proposed decrease of 17 per cent, citing that “it was not possible to transfer the burden of ACTEW’s costs to future water users without unacceptable risk to ACTEW’s financial viability”. The commission also noted that it had “modified its traditional approach to determining water prices”. Treasurer, why is it acceptable to charge Canberrans more for their water to cover what the ICRC has described as an unacceptable risk to ACTEW’s financial viability?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Hanson for the question. Mr Hanson would be aware that this particular area of ACTEW’s business is regulated by the ICRC. All of its business decisions, its capital and recurrent expenditures, are assessed by the commission to ensure that they are economically efficient, and all pricing determinations must be approved and determined by the commission. So it sets the revenue that ACTEW can get in any given pricing period. It determined, given the capital investment that it has approved to be prudent and efficient, that the appropriate return on that investment was what it set in the pricing determination for the period. I would remind the Leader of the Opposition that the ICRC has in fact lowered water and sewerage prices for the people of the ACT in the order of about $80 a year.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Treasurer, as a shareholder, how did you allow ACTEW to get into such a precarious financial position?

MR BARR: ACTEW is not in a precarious financial position. As I indicated, the commission makes a determination on the appropriate return on the assets that the community owns through ACTEW and the commission has made that determination and indicated that, given the capital expenditure that has occurred, that it authorised, that it, in its regulatory role, said was prudent and efficient, the return that is required on that investment is the determination for the next period.

I again remind the Leader of the Opposition that water and sewerage prices have fallen. Water and sewerage prices have fallen. It is one bill. Water and sewerage prices have fallen. The Leader of the Opposition would do well to understand the regulatory environment and understand that ACTEW does not make, and the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video