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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (17 April) . . Page.. 1003..


MR DE (continuing):

From July, a primary producer whose property lies within the borders of the ACT will be entitled to claim a 45 per cent concession on the registration fees of vehicles under 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass. The concession, which will affect about 150 people in the ACT, applies to tractors, trucks and vans used solely for transporting the producer's own produce. It is expected that the concession could save the average farmer or small business person up to $1,000 a year.

Mr Speaker, Mr Whitecross's claim that this decision discriminates against small business is, of course, ridiculous, totally incorrect and utterly stupid. The Leader of the Opposition of this week, Mr Whitecross, says that singling out rural producers at the expense of other small business people is not fair. He has chucked a marshmallow at us. So, why has the Canberra Business Council welcomed the move? Does the Canberra Business Council not represent thousands of small businesses? It agrees that rural lessees have been at a disadvantage compared to those in New South Wales, and it sees the concession as fair and equitable.

Mr Speaker, the Rural Lessees Association - whose members are not insignificant in this whole issue - has also welcomed the move, saying that ACT farmers can now trade equally with farmers in New South Wales. This Government, unlike those opposite me when they were in government, is committed to assisting anyone in business in the ACT. For Mr Whitecross to whinge and groan and moan, making ridiculous statements such as, "Everybody in the world is against the Liberal Party's decision to implement an election commitment", once again shows his ignorance and his inexperience. That is why he will not be the Leader of the Opposition very shortly.

Public Service - Enterprise Bargaining

MS McRAE: My question is to Mrs Carnell, as Minister in charge of industrial relations. Mrs Carnell, it seems quite likely, given the level of reportage about it, that there is going to be quite a deal of further industrial action. So, noting that, and noting your responsibility as Chief Minister taking charge of this issue, will you now agree, as a matter of urgency, to submit all agreements reached with unions to the Industrial Relations Commission for certification without adjustment?

MRS CARNELL: We are more than willing to put the current agreements to the Industrial Relations Committee. But two weeks ago Jeremy Pyner told us that they would not be ratified because they needed some changes. Yesterday he told us that they would be ratified. We are still awaiting the letter that Mr Pyner suggested that he might have sent to us yesterday, which we now find he has not sent to us at all. We are certainly not moving away at all from the agreements that we signed. We want those agreements to be ratified, and we are very pleased to note your support in that approach.

MS McRAE: Of course, as usual, it is somebody else's fault. You gave the Canberra community the impression that the deals were done union by union. Suddenly, it is Mr Pyner's fault. Essentially, the question is: Instead of trying to worm out of the agreements, which you are now doing, will you submit the agreements in their original form to the commission and let the independent umpire decide?


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