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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 11 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3291 ..

MR WHITECROSS: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Mr Humphries appears to be being rather obtuse or thick. I am not sure which. Mr Humphries, we are not talking about supermarkets; we are talking about specialty shops which are now going to be paying additional rent for hours that they used to be open anyway. These are small businesses. Will you concede that your ill-advised decision to rush Mr De Domenico's Trading Hours Bill through parliament, without public debate and without properly considering the impact on these other traders, is having adverse consequences for those small businesses and for the ACT community?

MR HUMPHRIES: I do not know what sort of supplementary question he had printed in front of him, Mr Speaker, but it did not make much sense to me. Mr Speaker, I am not being obtuse or thick. I am telling you the facts as they are. The information that has come to me from small businesses has been that they have been helped by the decision made by this Government. Mr Speaker, I had a fax the other day from the owner of a supermarket in a local centre in Canberra saying, "Well done. Stick to your guns. We were in deep trouble before the change. Our turnover is up".

Mr Berry: That is one.

Mr Whitecross: What did the other 100 say?

MR HUMPHRIES: They do not care, Mr Speaker. They could not give a damn. They could not give a damn about the people in those small centres. The local shopkeeper is doing it tough. "That is too bad", says Labor.

Mr Berry: Who said it stinks?

Mr Whitecross: What about other small businesses that pay more rent?

MR SPEAKER: Order! The question has been asked and the answer is being given. Would you please hear it in silence.

MR HUMPHRIES: That centre recorded a 51/2 per cent increase in turnover in the few weeks after the trading hours changes took place. You perpetrated a myth around this town that our legislation would make no difference. To what do you attribute that, Mr Whitecross? You go out and talk to some of these small businesses, the ones you are not game to show up to. You go and talk to the small supermarkets in the local centres in this city. You ask them what they think about the trading hours legislation. I know what the answer is, and you will find out as well if you ask them.

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