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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2251 ..

MR WHITECROSS (continuing):

I notice, Mr Speaker, that this package includes the retail shopping hours matter which is set down for debate this afternoon. All I can say, Mr Speaker, is that if the Greens are having second thoughts about supporting the Government on the trading hours matter they should vote against the Government's Bill. Vote against the Government's Bill if you have concerns about it, but do not try to put all the other initiatives on hold in the meantime. The Opposition are saying that there are some good initiatives there, get on with them. Changes to supermarket trading hours in the town centres are going to add nothing to your package. Drop it. Forget it. It is a dumb idea. That is why we are opposing this motion.

Mr Speaker, we will be supporting the Liberals' proposed amendment in due course because we have already had the debate about arbitrary moratoriums on expansion of space in retail centres. There is a planning process. We have heard much fanfare about how many millions of dollars various proponents have spent developing proposals. Those proposals ought to be considered through the proper processes of the planning system, not arbitrarily adjudicated on by a blanket moratorium as proposed by part (3) of this motion. We would certainly support the Government in rejecting that approach.

MR SPEAKER: I refer members to standing order 43 which says:

By the indulgence of the Assembly, a Member unable conveniently to stand, by reason of sickness or infirmity, will be permitted to speak sitting.

Is permission granted for Mr Humphries to remain seated, please, when speaking during the remainder of the day?

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning) (11.58): I thank members. I am not sure whether old age is included in those categories in standing order 43. Mr Speaker, the Government has given the motion moved by Ms Tucker careful consideration and has decided that it will support it with the amendment that I have already circulated in the chamber.

Ms Follett: No wonder you have a bad back.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I will ignore interjections. I think the Assembly as a whole needs to reflect on the fact that there are a number of arguments about the fate of retailing in the Territory. The Government does not pretend, in putting forward its policy Striking a Balance, that we have addressed, or necessarily could address, all of the many issues which have gone into making up the problems which face retailing in this Territory at the moment. The causes of the problems facing retailing are complex and varied. The Striking a Balance package represents a solution in some respects to the problems facing retailing. The Government hopes it is an accurate and carefully thought through solution, but members can have different views about that. What we have done is establish a kind of safety net under a large number of businesses in local centres in this Territory, neighbourhood centres, which have faced serious problems in recent days

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