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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3044..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

Whilst no-one can deny, Mr Speaker, that it has been a difficult year for many small businesses in Canberra, we must not ignore outside factors like continued and prolonged speculation about a Federal election, which is a major contributor to the level of business confidence. It is also important for the Assembly to know that, whilst the results of the business confidence survey released yesterday identified a noticeable drop in business confidence since the previous survey conducted in January 1995, the same survey - if Mr Wood had read it all - also indicates that 52 per cent of businesses believe that the business environment will be either considerably or marginally better at this time next year.

Mr Wood: That is a very low percentage.

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, there are other positive findings of the survey. The Labor Party members come into this place and are all prepared to criticise. When there is a No. 1 result in surveys, Mr Wood, you will never acknowledge it. It makes you squirm and drool in envy of what this Government has done. Let us look at what the survey also says, Mr Speaker. Let us have the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Mr Humphries: He is drooling. I can see it.

MR DE DOMENICO: He is drooling. You can see that he is drooling. A slight expansion in employment is expected over the next year. Business investment is expected to increase marginally over the next year. While profit has remained steady over the past three months, a slight improvement is expected over the next year. In terms of competitiveness, Mr Speaker, there is expected to be a continuation of increased competition over the next year.

Mr Wood also would have known, had he read the survey properly, that the survey pointed out that the Business Council has prefaced these results by stating in a press release, yesterday also, that the work of this Liberal Government is providing some hope for business with "positive reports such as the Red Tape Task Force helping to boost the expectations of business". Mr Speaker, in the nine months that this Government has been in power we have been actively working to provide the right climate and support for business - something which was foreign to the previous Labor Government.

Mr Speaker, one just has to look at the Government's 1995-96 budget to see the range of positive initiatives aimed at fostering business growth. May I remind the Assembly that these budget initiatives were publicly embraced by organisations like the Canberra Business Council, the Confederation of ACT Industry and the Housing Industry Association. In addition, Mr Speaker, this Government has managed to successfully attract major international companies. Mrs Carnell spoke about AOFR and others who have set up their south-east region headquarters in Canberra, and we have gained the cooperation of the Federal and New South Wales governments - both Labor governments, Mr Wood - in conducting a feasibility study into the high-speed rail concept between Sydney and Canberra.

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