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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2250 ..

MS McRAE (continuing):

Ms Horodny should seriously consider their issues and not fall for this trap of saying, "Well, perhaps if we have another inquiry we could do it better than the Government". Why should we? They have thousands of public servants. They have every brain that they can possibly pick on to come up with a solution. For some totally baffling reason they have come up with this simplistic and stupid answer to a very serious problem.

Let me reiterate. I have no problems with the fact that Ms Tucker raises a series of important and serious issues that need to be discussed, that need to be thoroughly examined, that need to be reconsidered; but I have a fundamental problem with taking the Government off the hook, when they have made a stupid decision, by giving them an alternative and a breath of sanity, by means of a committee whose chair has not even asked for this inquiry, simply and purely because the Greens are realising now that their constituents are being badly affected by this decision. Instead of saying, "Sorry, we have it wrong; we are not going to support you; go away and do it again", the Greens are trying to fob it off to a committee and get everybody off the hook. We will not support this motion.

MR WHITECROSS (Leader of the Opposition) (11.52): I will briefly add to Ms McRae's comments. Mr Speaker, one of the reasons why the Labor Opposition are not happy with this proposal is that it seeks to put some of the better ideas in the Government's Striking a Balance initiative on ice while the Planning and Environment Committee goes away and thinks about these issues. The Government has come up with quite a range of fairly sensible initiatives. I have told everybody who has asked that I think that quite a number of the Government's initiatives in Striking a Balance are very sensible. The ones that are directed at assisting suburban shops and suburban shopowners to become more attractive to the consumers, to address issues of business management and marketing that might improve the quality of their business and its attractiveness to the consumers, ought to be able to go ahead.

The proposition that we might want to put the Government's proposals on ice for months is not a good one. The proposal is that we put this to the committee. I do not know how long it will take the committee to report, but let us give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they report at the earliest opportunity to parliament, which is two months away. We then will have a debate here. The Government then will have to go away and get a response. That will take maybe another month. Meanwhile, the small businesses which the Greens are professed to be concerned about are not getting the benefit of a package of very good initiatives which the Government have proposed.

I think there is too much time spent in this Assembly endlessly talking around issues instead of getting on with some decisions. In the area of planning and in the area of assistance to business, I think it behoves us to make a few more decisions and spend a little less time prevaricating. Mr Speaker, I think that the Assembly should seriously consider whether we ought not let the Government get on with implementing their package of assistance to the suburban shops rather than sending it off to yet another committee to add to the work of the other five reviews, or whatever they were, which we have already conducted into this matter in the past.

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