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The Hilmer Review makes no attempt to reconcile its policy framework with the ESD framework or broader concerns about its social implications. The Review would thus appear vulnerable to being criticised on the grounds that while the theoretical benefits of its procompetitive reforms are well enunciated, it fails to adequately address the “other side of the ledger”, in particular, the possible social and environmental cost outcomes of its recommended policies.
Mr Speaker, on the issue of regional and national reforms, the Greens are strongly supportive of regional economic strategies. As far as the regional economic development organisations are concerned, or REDOs as they are called, it is essential that they have much broader community representation and are not run just by industry and government, as is the case at present. If REDOs include a wide range of interests we are more likely to find innovative and environmentally and socially appropriate solutions to issues of unemployment, business and community development. We were delighted this morning to hear Mr Humphries use what was our slogan during the election campaign, “Lasting Solutions”. Lasting solutions can be achieved only if there is an intersectoral approach to all policy decisions, and we promote the type of economic development for this region which does serve our people and our environment now and in the future.
MR WOOD (4.09): Mr Speaker, we are debating Mr De Domenico's paper about what the Government is going to do for business. Perhaps one of the first things the Government could do, both for business and for the ACT in general, is to act in a more businesslike way. Thus far we have not seen a very strong businesslike approach in its operations.
In this paper there is some reference to the wonderful things that are going to happen on the Kingston foreshore, in the Kingston area. Indeed, it is rather more than the foreshore. They have not acted in an appropriate manner on this. Any business that acted in the way the Chief Minister and the Government have acted would go broke very quickly indeed. It has been hasty and no capacity to protect the interests of the company, in this case the ACT, has been shown. You would appreciate that, as Minister, I had three years or more in which, had I chosen to, I could have brought an approach to the Chief Minister and Cabinet to proceed to develop the Kingston foreshore. I did not do so.
The first thing I should say is that I would have taken an approach to Cabinet. The Chief Minister would have required that such a significant decision be taken by Cabinet. This decision was taken overnight by the Chief Minister and then, as we have heard in this Assembly, she informed her Ministers of what had happened. She took no advice from anybody; she gained no information from anywhere about it. It was simply an off-the-cuff decision made very suddenly. She castigated the Opposition a little about our approach to joint ventures, inferring that we did not understand what joint ventures are about. As Minister, I had responsibility for quite a number of joint ventures. They are now under Mr De Domenico's wing. I think that, over that time, I learnt a little bit about them.