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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 18 March 2010) . . Page.. 1112 ..

Mr Seselja: This is the implementation of part of her portfolio.

MR SPEAKER: Are you dissenting, Mr Smyth?

Mr Smyth: No, I am just commenting.

MR SPEAKER: Stand on your feet if you want to make a comment. Mr Seselja.

Mr Seselja: So the part that I can’t ask about—

Mr Hanson: The Greens-Labor agreement?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Hanson, if you want to backchat the Speaker, you can stand and seek a point of order as well. I am ruling on what is clearly a matter of substance. I have been given a point of order. If you have got comments to make about the Speaker’s ruling, have the decency to stand up and make them. Don’t backchat from the floor. Mr Seselja.

MR SESELJA: I will reframe, Mr Speaker, according to your ruling. Given this lack of detail, minister, do you have any idea if small businesses are being paid on time?

MS GALLAGHER: I can certainly inform the Assembly of the discussions that we have had around this matter. I cannot answer, for every portfolio where payments to businesses are made, about the exact percentage that are being paid. But the issue that was raised with us, and in terms of negotiating the Greens parliamentary agreement, was around ensuring that payments to small business were made in a timely fashion. That is what the agreement was about, and that is certainly what agencies endeavour to deliver. At times, for various reasons, and there are a number of reasons why, invoices can’t be paid or won’t be paid within that time frame. But the genuine intention is to pay them, and pay them within 30 days.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary question?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, are late payments to small business one of the reasons that small business confidence in the ACT government, as demonstrated by the Sensis business index, is in free fall?

MS GALLAGHER: Late payments to small business have not been raised with me by any small business that I can recall. I note the opposition’s excitement to grab onto any piece of research or survey that is negative about the territory and talks down the territory. The one thing that the Liberals, in their questions so far, in their preambles to their questions, have not indicated is that in this survey the ACT is the only jurisdiction to experience improved business confidence during the quarter. All of the economic indicators that we have available to us, which I would argue are perhaps more reliable and more robust than a Sensis survey, would indicate that business conditions in the territory are very good and that the business environment in the territory is very good.

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