Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 15 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 5542..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
I believe that the ACCC, indeed, in earlier times has been a major and stout defender of the right of Woolworths to enter the service station market as a then minnow fighting off the major international companies or cartels. So life is interesting, isn't it?
I will have to take advice on whether there are any current independent or new entrants. I believe that the last entrant to the service station market that sought protection from competition and sought protection from the ACCC was, in fact, Woolworths before it managed to take over just about the entire market.
MR COE: A supplementary?
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Coe.
MR COE: Chief Minister, what has the government done to stop the demise of the independent petrol stations? Do you know how many independent stations there are and what percentage of the market they represent?
MR STANHOPE: In the context of the role of a state or territory government, as I indicated before in relation to issues around competition and protection of the market, these are essentially commonwealth responsibilities, most particularly in relation to oil, petrol and service stations, and competition generally.
What we as a government do, of course, is to govern well and provide an environment in which we have a growing city—growing at a rate greater than at any time in the last 20 years, and a growing and diversifying economy. It is a place where business succeeds and where business is happy to do business. It is at the heart of what a state or territory government might do. As to the number—not enough. We do note the support of the Liberal Party for Woolworths and Coles as against the consumer in relation to supermarkets, and we expect the same in relation to service stations.
Mr Hanson: A point of order, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Stop the clock, please, Clerk.
Mr Hanson: The point of order goes to relevance. It was a very specific question about how many and what percentage do they comprise of the total number of service stations. I ask the Chief Minister to come to the answer.
MR SPEAKER: Unfortunately, Mr Coe framed his question with another part to it as well, Mr Hanson, which I think has given the Chief Minister some latitude. Chief Minister?
MR STANHOPE: I have finished.
MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, yesterday you cited an Access Economics report