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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 4458..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

supermarket industry here in the ACT. Many of those have welcomed the ACT government's commissioning of this work and indeed the recommendations that have been adopted precisely to ensure that there will be processes which allow smaller players to enter into the market here. I think you can see from the consumer response, and indeed from some businesses across the ACT who have welcomed the recommendations and the report, that that is precisely what this is about.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, a supplementary question?

MRS DUNNE: Treasurer, as the minister responsible for competition policy, will you ensure that the IGA-branded family businesses have the opportunity to expand either within or into the Canberra grocery market to ensure that there is as much competition in the market as possible?

MS GALLAGHER: We have accepted the recommendations, but, where it is appropriate in order to deliver the sentiment of the recommendations, the answer is yes.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary question?

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, can you provide a guarantee to my small business constituents that they will not be excluded from any land sale process for the purpose of building a supermarket?

MS GALLAGHER: Again, I think, consistent with the recommendations, that the answer is yes. This is around supporting small businesses to enable them to have a level playing field with the big players. That is what this is about. Certainly, I will do what I can, and I am happy to meet with any business that believes they are being treated unfairly. The businesses that I have met with in the last year are the ones that believe there is not a level playing field and they cannot enter the market.

Taxation—utilities

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, the Canberra Times today reported that Actew Corporation is continuing to charge the ACT government's utilities tax on water, notwithstanding the Federal Court's recent ruling that the tax is unconstitutional. Treasurer, why is the government flouting the Federal Court's ruling?

MS GALLAGHER: As Mr Doszpot no doubt knows, we are appealing the decision of the court.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary question?

MR DOSZPOT: Treasurer, what is the contingent liability that has been recorded on the ACT government's books to accommodate the possible need to repay this tax?

MS GALLAGHER: My advice at this point is that there is no need to repay the tax. The utilities tax raises in the order of $17 million per annum.


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