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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (23 May) . . Page.. 1686 ..

Mr Berry: So they are both wrong.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, all I can do, and I think it is appropriate, is give this Assembly the most up-to-date figures. That is what I am attempting to do. I also explained to the Assembly in depth why the figure is somewhat lower than we anticipated. It is lower because of industrial disputation and the annual conference of anaesthetists. I think that is a fairly full answer. Mr Speaker, members will also be aware - - -

Mr Berry: It is 800 higher than on Wednesday.

MRS CARNELL: The 1,800 is to the end of the financial year, Mr Berry. Mr Speaker, you would also be aware, as I am sure some other people in this Assembly would be, that there was a slowdown in surgery, particularly at Calvary Hospital, over a two-week period in March, due to the Easter slowdown period and the conference. That, by the way, was announced publicly, and it is something that happened under every previous government as well.

Interstate Retailers

MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr De Domenico, in his capacity as the Minister for Business. Minister, you will be aware that from time to time retailers from Sydney and other major cities come to the ACT and sell goods, normally in the Civic area, for anything up to three weeks at a time. You are probably also aware that these traders make very little, if any, positive contribution to the local economy. What they do, however, is take a lot of money with them when they leave the ACT by undercutting our local small businesses. Mr De Domenico, do you agree that a continuance of this practice is contrary to your Government's somewhat dubious policy to support small business?

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Osborne for his question. I tend to agree with Mr Osborne that there are outside players who come into - - -

Mr Moore: That you have a dubious small business policy?

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Moore always attempts to run this place, Mr Speaker. Perhaps you might get him to sit down and listen. He might learn something.

Mr Osborne, in answer to your question, yes, I tend to agree that there are a lot of interstate players who come into town and take money away from this place. We also need to look at the lease purposes of the buildings that they operate from. If those people are operating under legal lease purposes, there is very little governments can do. However, this Government is looking at the possibility of making sure that these people do pay their fair share - making sure that they do pay workers compensation, for example, and do pay fair wages to the people they employ. We will look into that matter, Mr Osborne. Yes, I do agree that perhaps it does go against our policy, but we need to look also at the legal entitlements of people coming into town.

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