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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2006 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

Mr Tony de Domenico is President of the Canberra Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has around 300 members, about half of them retailers.

Remember, Mr Speaker, that we are talking about 1991. The report continues:

Mr de Domenico said the Chamber of Commerce favours deregulation of trading hours. He referred to the stream of cars travelling from Canberra to Queanbeyan on Canberra Day (which WIN Television had filmed) as evidence of the sales local businesses are losing under the present arrangements.

Deregulation of the Trading Hours Act would be a useful first step, Mr de Domenico said. But given the Trading Hours Act is not now policed, the main obstacle to freer hours are labour awards, he argued. He wondered if the Government's Industrial Relations Advisory Council (located in the Chief Minister's Department) might take a keener interest in the issue and seek more flexible arrangements.

The report says that he then spent some time talking about what they needed to do in terms of agreements and penalty rate structures and so on. It goes on to say:

He argued that the innovative approach of Mr Ron Rabey, a retailer with outlets in Belconnen, Woden, Tuggeranong and Civic, is also an object lesson.

The report then says:

For a different view of the situation, Mr de Domenico recommended a discussion with Ms Kate Carnell, a local pharmacist, also on the Chamber's Board. Like Mr de Domenico, Ms Carnell was a speaker at the BOMA forum at the Lakeside Hotel on 5 March 1991 (a record is on Departmental file). There were insufficient resources during this study to permit a discussion with Ms Carnell.

The implications now, Mr Speaker, of there being insufficient resources in 1991 to talk to that lowly pharmacist over there in Red Hill are interesting. The reality, Mr Speaker, is that the Government have done neither one thing nor the other. What they have put up to deal with this issue of trading hours will not deliver. It is simply a sop to small business which will give them nothing. Mr Speaker, if the Government are serious about it they have really two choices.

I should digress a little, Mr Speaker, and say that there are, of course, some very positive aspects within the report Striking a Balance, and those are the sorts of things that we are talking about in terms of business education and some issues like that. I do not think anybody is questioning those, although one has to ask: At what point do we prop up small business in this way? In the end, when it comes to the crunch, the reality is that the

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