Page 1 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 12 February 1991

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Tuesday, 12 February 1991


MR SPEAKER (Mr Prowse) took the chair at 2.30 pm and read the prayer.


Business Bankruptcies

MS FOLLETT: My question is to Mr Kaine. I refer the Chief Minister to the dramatic increase in bankruptcies that has occurred in the ACT during his period in office; in particular, I refer to the reported 80 per cent increase in the last reported quarter. Mr Kaine, other than talking about this state of affairs, what concrete actions are you taking to stop the collapse of businesses in the ACT - in particular, small businesses - or will you again claim that the figures are wrong and there is not really a problem?

MR KAINE: The Leader of the Opposition rightly notes that there is a disturbing rate of bankruptcy in the ACT, something that the Government is concerned about. As I understand it, statistics recently released by the registrar show that, during 1990, 292 cases of bankruptcy were filed in the ACT, as opposed to 162 the year before; so there was a significant increase. Of those bankruptcies, 88 occurred in the December quarter of 1990, and that is a considerable increase on the December quarter in the previous years. But I would note, for general information, that they include both personal and business bankruptcies; they are not all business bankruptcies. And, indeed, some bankruptcies reported in those figures are not bankruptcies in the ACT, because there is a tendency for people in the surrounding region to record their bankruptcies here.

That is a matter of some concern. As I have indicated previously, much of the problem with small businesses is that they simply cannot afford the price of money in today's market. When they are a little bit short of money to tide themselves over, they find that they either cannot borrow or cannot afford to borrow on today's market and, of course, that is a function of the total Australian economy, not just of the ACT economy.

Mr Berry: It has fallen several percentage points.

MR KAINE: It is your Federal Treasurer, Mr Berry, who fixes the national economy. You should ask him what he is doing about fixing small business. That would be a damn good question to ask him, because your Federal Treasurer takes the view that you shut your eyes and it all goes

away. Well, it has not gone away and it is not going to go away until your Federal Treasurer faces up to the fact of the matter.

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