Page 2848 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015

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The other issue that came up in the public accounts inquiry into the future of clubs in the ACT is water usage by, for instance, the bowling and golf clubs. It is a huge impact on their budgets and on their bottom lines and it is a big cost to those clubs and affects their viability. We asked about usage and whether there was a price, for instance, in New South Wales for community use. Of course, all pricing is set by the ICRC but there was not such a level or tier in this jurisdiction. It is certainly something that the government should take into account.

We talked about the treatment of staff redundancies. Because of decisions made that are out of the control of ActewAGL and Icon, there are some redundancies, particularly in ActewAGL, but there are some in Icon as well. We asked questions about those, what was happening in regard to those people and how they would be treated. It is certainly something that we will be keeping an eye on. The other thing is the debt and how Icon covers their debt. There is a bit of a hump coming in a couple of years. Again it is something that we will monitor and keep an eye on.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (12.05): Icon Water Ltd’s four strategies for the period 2015-16 to 2018-19 are focused on its strategic objectives. These are: a culture that protects, engages and develops its people; excellence in asset management; to build a trusted brand; and financial management—sustainable returns and reduced gearing.

Icon Water’s 2015-16 budget is underpinned by new prices set by the industry panel, which reviewed the ICRC’s water and sewerage pricing determination of June 2013. The new pricing took effect from 1 July 2015. The industry panel decision provides three years of pricing certainty for customers and provides a solid foundation for future pricing determinations. The budget also anticipates the impact of the Australian Energy Regulator’s decision to reduce electricity prices from 1 July 2015.

I commend the appropriation to the Assembly.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission—schedule 1, part 1.14.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (12.07): The ICRC appeared before the committee on 15 June. There were a number of discussions and points of interest that the committee looked at, ranging from the effect of the development of home storage battery devices on electricity prices to comparisons with other jurisdictions.

For me, of particular interest was the water pricing for community facilities. If members go to page 156 of the report, there is a section on it. In New South Wales there is special water pricing for community groups running community facilities, such as golf clubs and bowling clubs. In the ACT the minister noted that clubs in the ACT are eligible for a concession. So you get charged the full price in the ACT and then they work out whether or not you can have a concession, whereas in New South Wales they make a point of having a special price because they understand the value of these sorts of clubs. In recommendation 60 the committee recommends:

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