Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2005 2005) . . Page.. 2385 ..
territory is badly done by because of various other consequences—I think through the national water initiative as it related to competition payments and also through the fees from the corporate regulatory function that we have never had.
But notwithstanding that sort of political response, I urge the Treasurer to revisit the issue of stamp duty on commercial conveyances because I think he has a golden opportunity to do something that his colleagues interstate seem reluctant to do, and that is stimulate this sector of our economy with a measure of generosity. I am not sitting here anticipating that he will leap to that conclusion or embrace the suggestion but certainly it is a view supported by economists. It is regarded as an inefficient tax and it is one that ought to be revisited.
During the course of the deliberations we spoke about the Williamsdale quarry. The government was remarkably tight-lipped on this issue. We are blamed—we heard today that it is because of something that happened under the last Liberal government. I am not persuaded not to pursue matters because of things that the last Liberal government did or did not do. I am not even embarrassed. I made it very clear to the last two Liberal Chief Ministers that I will pursue matters that I believe are worthy of pursuit, irrespective of who was in power, and I intend to. The Williamsdale quarry is one on which matters were raised with me.
Mr Seselja: They refused to give answers.
MR MULCAHY: Indeed, as Mr Seselja has noted, they did refuse to give answers. The issue of the sale was only one part of a long litany of questions related to this particular exercise. There are questions related to the handling of the receivership. I think there is a duty on the part of the government to satisfy the concerns being raised and to provide a much more comprehensive answer.
We always hear the same old catchcry. Do not worry, Mr Corbell, we will hear it when we get to health. Governments in trouble can always rely on the old device of commercial-in-confidence or cabinet secrecy to bury for years things that they do not really want brought into the public domain. Dramas often occur over things that involve the management of the commercial activities of government agencies. Indeed, part of my philosophy is that governments run into enormous risks when they get into entrepreneurial activities. I really am not restrained in my criticism of any party of any persuasion. I said in my inaugural speech in this chamber that I think it is fraught with risk. There are celebrated instances on both sides of politics where gung-ho enthusiasts in the parliamentary sphere embark on business activities and leave us with a trail of debt and destruction, which has happened in a number of states of Australia.
Mr Speaker, there was some questioning in relation to Rhodium. From my perspective, the jury is still out a bit as to the appropriateness of being in the car and equipment leasing business. I commend the quality of the chairman they have appointed in Mr Samarcq. I have known him obviously as something of an adversary but he is a person I have regard for as chairman of that authority.
I recently made a visit to Rhodium and listened to their point of view as to why it is an effective agency in delivering benefit for the taxpayer and the government. But it is an area in which I continue to need some settling in my own mind as to whether this is