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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 2 Hansard (29 February) . . Page.. 494 ..

MR WHITECROSS: I have a supplementary question. If the Minister is investigating that, maybe he would also be able to confirm that currently Can It Squad members are using chemicals which are meant to be dabbed onto surfaces, or painted on, and that they are actually atomising them, which means that they can be inhaled, and that playground equipment is being cleaned with toxic chemicals without any withholding period from children using that equipment after it is cleaned.

MR DE DOMENICO: I cannot confirm that either, Mr Speaker, but I will ask and I will let Mr Whitecross know.

Phillip Testing Station

MS McRAE: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr De Domenico in his capacity as Minister for Urban Services. Minister, after the amazing way you have implemented the restructuring of the vehicle testing system in the ACT, the Canberra public is now painfully aware that they can no longer have their vehicles inspected at the Phillip Testing Station. They are also, unfortunately, unaware that they can still access the services previously provided by the office staff, such as the payment of traffic infringement notices, drivers licences and vehicle registration. Minister, have you or members of your staff at any stage prevented the Department of Urban Services from advertising the fact that the services previously mentioned are still available from the Phillip Testing Station, or is it your intention to reduce those services to the point where you can justify its total closure?

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, I thank Ms McRae for the question. Ms McRae should realise that the policy implemented by this Government is in fact identical to the policy that was going to be implemented by the previous Government. Whether Ms McRae or members opposite realise it or not, it was as a result of a report commissioned by Mr Lamont, in fact, following comments made by Mr Connolly, the Minister before Mr Lamont, the year before in the Estimates Committee, suggesting that this report, and the experience in South Australia, meant that it was not the right thing to do to continue going the way we were. Whether Ms McRae and members opposite like that or not, we happen to agree with that policy.

Ms McRae, you asked me a direct question. No, I certainly have not prevented anyone from Urban Services from doing anything of the sort. I will ask my staff whether they have. I doubt whether they have either. We will tell the people of the ACT exactly what we think ought to happen, which is what your Government said when you were in government. We agree with your policy. The system in place now is having some teething problems. I know that Mr Whitecross tried to make hay while the sun shines when nobody read the Canberra Times during Christmas, but that is fine. He got his name in print. We know that Mr Whitecross is very ambitious for certain things. It will not be the last time. Ms McRae, we think the policy in place now is a good policy. It has teething problems - there is no doubt about that - but anything that is new will have teething problems. Quite candidly, I think the system that is going now will work. From 1 January 1997, hopefully, the green slip system will be introduced, which is similar to New South Wales. We will be licensing some private sector operators to give approval for the motor vehicle inspections. I think the system will work.

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