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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 8 Hansard (13 August) . .

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commissioner to be based in the ACT. It has come to light since the announcement of her retirement that not only will her position be lost, as a commissioner based in Canberra, but she will not be replaced with another permanent Canberra-based commissioner. This issue concerns me greatly. Without a commissioner permanently in Canberra, problems are likely to arise with the length of proceedings and ease of access for employees and employers within the ACT. I wish to urge Fair Work Australia to reconsider this decision.

The reduction in the number of commissioners in general sheds some light on the lack of commitment from the current federal government to protecting workers rights and settling workplace disputes. It shows little respect for the commission to be reducing the number of commissioners who sit on it, and can be seen as in line with other federal cuts we have seen outlined in federal budget decisions. I have written to Minister Abetz regarding my concerns and would urge others in this place to do the same. Reducing resources to settle workplace disputes is not something that benefits anyone.

Finally, I would like to thank all of the people who have worked with Commissioner Deegan during the last 18 years, mostly all of those who attended her farewell. They include Magistrate Cook; Justice Iain JK Ross AO; Professor Breen Creighton; Geoffrey McCarthy; members of the CPSU, ETU, United Voice, ANMF, TWU, AMWU, Professionals Australia and the ACT & Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry; and various academics and other individuals who have worked with Commissioner Deegan over past 18 years. Commissioner Deegan has truly given excellent service to Australia and the people of the ACT, for which I am very grateful.

Australia India Business Council

MR COE (Ginninderra) (6.49): I rise this evening to talk about the Australia India Business Council. The Australia India Business Council was formed in 1986 and aims to improve the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Each year, the economic relationship between Australia and India gets stronger. For the last six years, Australia-India bilateral trade has been growing at 20 per cent. Annual trade with India is now estimated at $23 billion, and both governments are committed to raising this figure to $40 billion in the next five years. I am proud to note that one of the key supporters of the relationship with India was former Prime Minister John Howard, whose government led large business delegations to India in 1996 and 2007.

With the relationship growing ever closer, it is vital that organisations such as the Australia India Business Council exist to foster relations between businesses in both countries. Each year, the organisation attracts government ministers, embassy officials, business figures and key stakeholders to events in order to facilitate networking. The business council also played a leading role in informing the Australian community about the changes in India's political dynamic after the new Prime Minister was elected this year.


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