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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 18 March 2010) . . Page.. 1113 ..

I am not surprised that businesses have some concern around the capacity of the territory government to do more for them. That is in the context of the overall budget situation that we are in. All stakeholders would like government to do more for them—to give more, to have more: to have more mentoring programs in business, to have further business assistance programs, to have lower taxes. All of them would. Any business you ask would answer that. But when you weigh things up, as you have to when you are providing a budget for every member of the community across the territory, there are different priorities for each group, and government’s job is to weigh them all up and come out at the end of the day with what is affordable and what we believe is a fair deal for everybody.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Le Couteur?

MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you. Treasurer, what is the government doing to increase the timeliness of payments to small business and, in fact, to business altogether—all sizes of business?

MS GALLAGHER: The government has been very clear about the need to ensure that payments to business for services provided to the ACT government are paid in a timely fashion, in accordance with the agreement that we negotiated with the Greens.

Certainly, in the negotiations we had relating to that agreement concerns had been raised about the impact it has if the government is not paying its bills. Indeed, the only complaint that I have had that I can recall about payments to small business in the last year has been about a bill that was paid too quickly, not too late.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGEAVES: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Seselja: The problem is you’re paying them too fast?

Ms Gallagher: Well, that’s the only complaint I’ve had raised with me.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Hargreaves has the floor.

MR HARGEAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Is it true, Treasurer, that the security of payments legislation introduced by the Stanhope Labor government and supported by the MBA and the industry actually contributes to the viability of our small business in this town?

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, could I just seek your ruling on relevance? The security of payments legislation is about payments made by subcontractors to other subcontractors in the building industry and, therefore, is not relevant to the original question, which was about the government paying its accounts.

MR SPEAKER: I did not know that detail. Mr Hargreaves?

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