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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (17 April) . . Page.. 1015..


LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO MEMBER

Motion (by Mr Humphries) agreed to:

That leave of absence be given to Mr Kaine for 17 and 18 April 1996.

RED TAPE TASK FORCE
Report and Papers

Debate resumed from 21 February 1996, on motion by Mr De Domenico:

That the Assembly takes note of the papers.

MR WOOD (3.24): Mr Speaker, it has taken a little time for this matter to be debated. It has been on the notice paper day after day.

MR SPEAKER: Red tape, Mr Wood!

MR WOOD: It seems to me to be a reflection of the Government's priorities. Another reflection of the Government's priorities is a speech from the now Minister when he was on this side of the Assembly last year or the year before. He was commenting on proposed developments at the Tuggeranong Town Centre, and he said words to the effect that "We" - that is, the then Opposition, the Liberal Party - "will wrap this up in so much red tape that nothing will happen". That is very clearly imprinted on my memory. Now he claims that red tape is a bad thing, and he wants to get rid of it. We all support that; let us be clear about it. We do not want unnecessary red tape.

Let us look at the planning issues, for example. Bear in mind that a lot of the red tape is what this Assembly has demanded - what the community has demanded - so that it may have access and proper processes to work through, as in the case of urban developments that the Greens were asking about at question time. Call it red tape, if you like; but there is a lot of administrative procedure that is gone through which is to protect community rights.

To quote from the Minister's speech:

The primary purpose of the task force was to inquire into, and report to government on, regulatory processes where red tape appeared to impose unnecessary cost or disadvantage on the Canberra business sector.

That emphasises the point that I just made, namely, that sometimes - indeed, very often - there is benefit in that red tape; it is needed. Let us help the Canberra business sector. We all agree with that. But there are costs that we will not bear and there are limits that we would not wish to be exceeded. Let me make it very clear that, conceptually, we may agree with diminishing red tape; but, at the same time, we will not agree to reducing our rights in this Assembly and the rights of people in the community.


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