Page 3881 - Week 12 - Thursday, 29 October 2015

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improvement made by Mr Grant. These changes will help improve the operation and effectiveness of the current regulatory model in advance of the next major price investigations due to occur between mid-2016 and 2018.

However the government will also continue to undertake further work to consider alternative approaches to the overarching regulatory model used in the territory that could potentially be implemented in the medium term. This work will consider, in depth, potential alternative regulatory models, including the potential for an approach that incorporates a contracting out arrangement for major work associated with pricing investigations. The government considers there may be merit in the development of a tailored regulatory model for the territory which may potentially allow for the required regulatory pricing services to be delivered in a more cost-effective and efficient manner.

The continuation of the current regulatory model in the short term will be supported by the introduction of improvements to the overall governance and accountability arrangements in line with recommendation 2 of the Grant review. In consultation with key stakeholders the government will seek to develop improvements to these arrangements, in particular to allow the government to take, where appropriate, a more active role in setting the high level framework for a pricing investigation as recommended by the Grant review.

The government will, in line with recommendation 3 of the Grant review, seek to introduce in 2016 significant legislative amendments to the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission Act 1997. While the current legislative framework has provided a strong foundation for the operation of the regulatory system the Grant review has identified a number of areas in which the ICRC Act can be improved. The government will also utilise this opportunity, in consultation with key stakeholders, to refine and improve as appropriate other parts of the ICRC Act which directly relate to the provision of pricing services in the territory.

Recommendation 4 of the Grant review makes recommendations about ways in which the sustainability and resourcing for the ICRC can be improved. The government will consider during the 2016-17 budget process the issues raised by the Grant review regarding resourcing arrangements for the regulator.

The government is committed to introducing significant improvements to the pricing regulation framework that operates in the territory. Today’s tabling of the government response to the Grant review represents an important milestone in the reform process. This step will be followed, as I foreshadowed earlier, by further work to develop appropriate amendments to the ICRC Act for consideration by the Assembly in 2016, as well as ongoing work to improve governance and accountability arrangements.

The detailed consideration undertaken by Mr Grant in his review has provided the government with a strong basis for ongoing efforts to improve the regulatory framework for water and sewerage prices. I thank Mr Grant for his comprehensive review of the framework and I look forward to ongoing work in consultation with key stakeholders to implement the agreed changes arising from the Grant review. I commend to the Assembly the government response to the Grant review.

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