Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 4419..
MS PORTER (continuing):
... all appropriate levels of government consider ways in which zoning and planning laws and decisions in respect of individual planning applications where additional retail space for the purpose of operating a supermarket is contemplated should have specific regard to the likely impact of the proposal on competition between supermarkets in the area. Particular regard should be had to whether the proposal will facilitate the entry of a supermarket operator not currently trading in the area.
I think you would agree, Madam Assistant Speaker Burch, that one supermarket in a group centre that is Coles or Woolies is not choice, in anybody's language.
I think we would agree, though, that our local shopping centres are about community. There is something special about them. One likes to go to one's local shops and know by name the baker, the person who runs the post office outlet, for instance, or the news agency. It is an important aspect of our community.
However, with the many pressures that we have been talking about in this place in the last little while, we are now faced with this particular issue, and that is why this review looking into the supermarket and retail sectors has been undertaken, and that is why Labor has commissioned a review.
Mr Stanhope was correct in reiterating the importance of expert decision making based on sound advice and community consultation. I have outlined the community consultation that was undertaken before. I believe that this community consultation was extremely important, as was the online comment that was engendered by the Facebook entry that we had, which is a new way of consulting with the community.
The community's desire to have their local shopping centre, the realities of where people do shop and the need for economic growth must always be balanced, and we cannot take this balance for granted. Mr Smyth is right: we need to continue to work on that, but that is why we have undertaken this review. That is why we will be forming the body that Mr Stanhope talked about. I believe that the Assembly should be supporting this government's efforts to increase competition in the ACT supermarket sector.
We are committed to promoting diversity and choice in Canberra's retail and wholesale supermarket sector. We do believe that further competition is good for Canberrans and that it will inevitably result in a wide range of benefits, including lower prices and increased choice for all of Canberra's consumers. After all, I am sure that we would all want that. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
Motion agreed to.
Hospitals—Calvary Public Hospital and Clare Holland House
MR HANSON (Molonglo) (11.24): I move:
(1) this Assembly refer to the Auditor-General for independent analysis, evaluation and audit the matter of the ACT government proposal to purchase Calvary Hospital, and to sell Clare Holland House;