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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 February 2018) . . Page.. 529 ..


I am sure the shadow minister was not suggesting that we breach the constitution of this country or that we breach many of the preferential trade agreements that have been signed by both sides of federal politics and pursued by both sides of federal politics. But we do need to be very cognisant in these debates as they relate to local weightings that we do have obligations to states and territories in the Commonwealth of Australia and to all the countries with which we have signed trade agreements—they are never free-trade agreements, but they are preferential trade agreements—to adhere to their requirements.

This is because our exporters, those Canberra businesses that are seeking to access government procurement in other jurisdictions in this country and internationally, require us to be a good citizen as well in order for them to achieve any success in markets elsewhere in this country. I make the very simple observation that, although our procurement of $1.8 billion is significant for the city of Canberra, it would pale when compared with the procurement of, say, the New South Wales government, the Victorian government, the Australian government, even the New Zealand government, let alone governments like the United States government or arrangements that are in place with China, Indonesia or the countries that we have trade agreements with.

Whilst we do have a weighting for SMEs in the Canberra region in our procurement process, we do so clearly within the rules and agreements that apply in respect of the Commonwealth of Australia and our trade agreements.

I say in conclusion that it is good we are having this debate today. We are very proud of the policy that we took to the 2016 election. Through the secure local jobs package we will be seeking to implement what we took to the election. I am pleased that through the debate we have had this afternoon we have teased out a few of the issues, some of the potential concerns that may see some degree of tripartisan support on elements of what we propose.

I am also acutely aware that it is unlikely we will get agreement across all parties in this place for every element of what we propose, but there is possibly some hope in some of the remarks from the shadow minister that we may proceed with agreement across all parties on certain elements. We look forward to the conclusion of the consultation process and debate in this place in due course on the legislation that will be brought forward. Having said all of that, I commend Ms Cody for bringing this motion forward today.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.42): I will be brief in reflecting on some of the things that unfortunately are not in Ms Cody’s motion, except in a very oblique way; nor are they in the consultation paper that Mr Wall referred to. When I saw it, I was surprised at how slim it was and what was missing from it.

I need to put on the record that I as a Canberran and as someone who works with constituents on a fairly regular basis—as we all do—spend a lot of time with my constituents and sometimes the children of my constituents. I encourage them to be active participants in the workforce. When they have problems, I refer them to the workplace ombudsman.


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