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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2066 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

were going to go, but the Government is not proposing to do that. The Government is not proposing to close those supermarkets, except for particular hours, generally in the evening, and in such a way that of all the supermarkets in the ACT which operate at the present time only five are going to have their hours significantly affected by this legislation.

There are about double that number of supermarkets in town centres at the present time, but many of them do not trade much, if at all, beyond the hours that the Government has now proposed in its legislation. A number of them have hours very similar to those proposed in the Government's legislation. Mr Speaker, I find it hard to accept an argument that says that we are going to lose many jobs in those supermarkets because in some cases one hour a week or one hour a day is being shaved off the operation of those supermarkets. It just does not follow.

Mr Speaker, I concede that there are five supermarkets in the Territory whose trading hours will be dramatically affected by this proposal. There are no bones about that. Potentially, after a particular point of the night some people will no longer have an opportunity to work at those particular supermarkets. However, Mr Speaker, as the Opposition itself has been quick to point out, trade at those supermarkets will be transferring to a very large extent from town centres to group centres. Those opposite have made that point already. They will be transferring from town centres to group centres, because they have said, "This policy will not work because people will not be going to the local centres". Where will they go?

Mr Whitecross: They will be inconvenienced.

MR HUMPHRIES: Oh, they will be inconvenienced. No, that is not the question, Mr Whitecross. Where will they go to shop? If Mr Whitecross gets his lines straight, which he probably cannot, he will realise that they will be going in large part - not wholly but in large part - to the group centres.

Mr Speaker, the petitions which have been run around this town in the last few days and which I have seen a copy of make no reference to the fact that those supermarkets in the group centres are unaffected by these changes. In fact, I have it on good authority that people have seen petitions in group centre supermarkets asking them to sign, saying, "Save our supermarket". What kind of dishonesty is that? The fact is that no group centre supermarkets are going to be affected by this policy except positively, except to pick up business which will move from the town centres. I have no doubt that those who own those group centre supermarkets will be considering expanding their trading hours to pick up the business which is coming from town centre supermarkets. Mr Speaker, what we will see when that happens is extra employment opportunities offered in the group centre supermarkets, because people still have to shop.

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