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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2073 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

within those shopping centres to get perhaps better access to their customers. That is true. To that extent, people from Coles and Woolworths can come and they can express gratitude for what I am doing for them. However, they are most unlikely to do that, I suspect.

You forget, however, that the other people who benefit from the expansion of town centres, particularly Woden Plaza, are the people who establish small shops in that town centre. All of those shops are likely to be small shops, whether they are individually owned shops or whether they are franchises of larger chains that operate around the country which are owned individually by franchisees. I am not sure how you can characterise, for example, what is proposed to happen at Woden Plaza as being in the interests of big business.

Mr Moore: I will explain it in my supplementary question.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Moore will no doubt have some bizarre explanation about that. We are about allowing town centres to expand, providing they can live within the restrictions we have placed on trading hours. I make no bones about the fact that I think it is the expansion in trading hours at supermarkets in town centres that has driven many smaller businesses in local centres into such desperate situations. Something like 15 supermarkets at local centres have closed in the last couple of years. Apparently those opposite, including Mr Moore, do not care about that. Apparently they are saying, "You are going under. It must be your own fault. You are obviously not going to survive in this market, so just go under. We do not care". That kind of callous disregard for the people who provide opportunities and business in this city is, I think, particularly regrettable. We do not have the same view on this side of the chamber. We want to do something to try to stem the tide of those things. In fact, I quote from the Financial Review of this morning. Talking about the issue of trading hours and the legislation which is now before the house, it stated:

This issue has fired passions in the small business community around Australia, but only the ACT has tried to find a legislative balance between the needs of small business, big business and the community.

Mr Speaker, that is exactly what we are trying to do.

MR MOORE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Mr Humphries, if you recognise that quite a number of surveys have found that we are well overserviced in terms of retail space and going up to 1.5 times Australian averages, why then is it that you are supporting small businesses such as Lend Lease by providing even more retail space at the expense of small shops in suburban centres?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, frankly, Mr Moore's assertions again have as much credibility in this area as do some of the wilder claims made by the Supermarket Institute. It is not true that we are generally overserviced. I want to quote from a publication issued only last month by the Victorian Government which examines, among other things, the relative provision of retail floor space on a capital city basis. There was a survey of six cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra. It lists the population of each of those places and the gross lettable area of each of those places,

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