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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2087 ..

Ms McRae: We do not live in other cities; we live here.

MR HUMPHRIES: Indeed we do. Under the policy which the Government has introduced into this chamber, we will still have the most unrestricted trading hours regime of any place in Australia - the most unrestricted trading hours regime of any jurisdiction in Australia bar none. For a national or international comparison, have a look at the chart in today's Financial Review and see where we fall relative to other places. Look at New South Wales, which is referred to on that chart. Our hours are even greater than those of New South Wales. Mr Speaker, with the possible exception of the United States of America, we already lead the world in trading hours in this country, and particularly in this city, and we will still lead Australia in access to shops at hours that suit people. Mr Speaker, I do not think there is any argument about that. If you doubt that, go and check what is happening in other cities in this country. We have nothing to apologise for by comparison with other places. People, even those who live near town centres, will be able to shop extensively for 85 hours a week. Mr Speaker, that is pretty good.

Retail Trading Hours

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, noting that Mr De Domenico introduced the trading hours legislation, responsibility for which you have now taken from him, and noting that Mr De Domenico had and continues to have no role in the continuing industrial disputes, why are you continuing to pay him a full ministerial salary?

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, if those opposite do not actually believe that such things as urban services are full ministerial responsibilities, then they simply do not know much about urban services. The business portfolio is a big portfolio, and so on. We on this side of the house believe that a number of issues, such as the shopping centre policy, extend across a number of portfolios. The reality is that I could have taken responsibility for that issue, or Mr De Domenico or Mr Humphries could have taken it, because there are areas of each one of our portfolios. In fact, from a departmental perspective, the work was handled out of my department. Some of the work was done in Mr De Domenico's and some in Mr Humphries's, but for consistency it was appropriate for one of us to determine to take the running on it rather than have three people running in different directions.

Those opposite and Mr Moore, you would think, would know that the issue of small shopping centres generally has a very strong planning connotation. It is essential for this city that we do not allow local shopping centres to close. If we do allow them to close, it will affect local schools, elderly people, disadvantaged people and such things as our bus services. The ramifications would be very wide, Mr Speaker. We understood that when we put this policy together, because we had done three separate surveys on the social ramifications, the length of trading hours, the amount of shopping space and so on. As Chief Minister, I determined that it was appropriate for one Minister to look after the whole policy so that we would have a consolidated and consistent approach.

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