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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1232 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

The Competition Policy Reform Bill was developed by the Government to give effect to its commitments under the national conduct code agreement, which aims for consistent and complementary competition laws and policies to apply to all businesses in Australia, regardless of whether they are publicly or privately owned or whether they are incorporated bodies or individual persons. Mr Speaker, the Bill provides for the application of the conduct rules of Part IV of the Trade Practices Act to persons and government business activity in the ACT. These rules establish the conditions for fair trade regardless of individual bargaining power. Similar legislation is to be, or has been, introduced in every other State and the Northern Territory. Under the national competition policy agreements, States and Territories are required to put this legislation in place by 20 July 1996 to remain eligible for competition payments from the Commonwealth.

Nine recommendations were made by the committee, including the recommendation that the Assembly enact the Bill. That recommendation has, of course, the Government's full support. Many of the remaining recommendations relate to processes for enabling the Assembly and the community to scrutinise or comment upon the implementation of competition policy reforms and the development and delivery of community service obligations. However, as a result of the Government's initiatives such as the financial management reforms, annual reporting by agencies and the customer commitment program, and because of specific reporting commitments in the competition policy agreements, community service obligations and competition policy reforms will already be subject to an unprecedented level of public and Assembly scrutiny. The Government believes that the combination of these mechanisms, together with established consultative forums and advisory groups, provides sufficient opportunity for public scrutiny and input.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to forewarn the Assembly that, when debate is resumed on the Bill, the Government proposes to put forward a minor amendment which is necessary to clarify the definition of "calendar month". This is a technical matter which has been brought to our attention by New South Wales Parliamentary Counsel, and it is being implemented in each of the States and Territories. The necessity for this minor change was advised to the select committee. I again thank the committee - and Ms Follett in particular - for its report, and I commend the Government response to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Follett) adjourned.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General): Mr Speaker, pursuant to section 6 of the Subordinate Laws Act, I present subordinate legislation in accordance with the schedule of gazettal notices for determinations, instruments of appointment, a management standard and a regulation.

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