Page 750 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 8 April 2014

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He goes on to say:

The water and sewerage services pricing inquiry is, therefore not exceptional either in the absence of a period from the reference or in the way the Commission has dealt with the reference. This audit report is the first time that the validity of this approach has been questioned.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Treasurer, what if any legal advice did you receive prior to issuing your reference to the ICRC dated 13 October?

MR BARR: A brief from both relevant ACT government directorates, in consultation with the ICRC, on the terms of reference.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, this will be the 1,000th supplementary question this term.

MR SMYTH: I feel honoured, as I am sure the Treasurer will feel when he answers. Treasurer, do you take responsibility for potentially invalidating the price determination as a result of your omission? If not, why not?

MR BARR: No, and I have outlined the terms of my response to the initial question from Mr Hanson—and, indeed, in the government response to the Auditor-General’s report—that the government does not agree with the particular conclusion that has come from that legal opinion. As the ICRC, amongst others, have pointed out, there is a variety of legal opinion in relation to this matter, but in order to put the matter firmly beyond doubt the government has agreed with the ICRC recommendation, to remove any doubt at all. The government does not believe there is, but the issue has been raised so we will seek to remove any doubt whatsoever.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Treasurer, are you aware whether there are any other jurisdictions where such bodies determine their own periods of reporting?

MR BARR: I understand that regulatory bodies in other jurisdictions, as has surely been the case in the ACT in previous times, do have that flexibility. That is not unusual. As the ICRC commissioner indicated in his response to the Auditor-General’s report, it is not the first time in the ACT, under this government or under the previous Liberal government, that such references occurred.

ACTTAB Ltd—proposed sale

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Racing and Gaming and relates to the sale of ACTTAB. Minister, where are negotiations with the staff at ACTTAB up to and what is the process to be followed between now and the potential sale of ACTTAB?

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