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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 12 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3720 ..

Commonwealth Contracts - Business Assistance

MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr De Domenico as Minister for Business, Employment and Tourism. Would the Minister for Business care to comment on suggestions made yesterday by the member for Canberra, Bob McMullan, and Brindabella MLA Bill Wood that the ACT Government is not doing enough to ensure that regional businesses are able to compete for Commonwealth contracts potentially worth tens of millions of dollars to this Territory? Is this so?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Mr Hird for the question.

Mr Wood: Ouch! It hurt you, did it not?

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Wood interjects again. In his first interjection he said to Mrs Carnell that she should get up to speed. His second interjection is, "It hurt you, did it not?". The answer to the question, Mr Hird, is that yesterday's criticism by Mr McMullan and Mr Wood - - -

Mrs Carnell: It certainly was not Mr Langmore.

MR DE DOMENICO: No; he has gone.

Mrs Carnell: Is Mr Berry going to take that seat?

MR DE DOMENICO: I do not know. It had to be Mr McMullan and Mr Wood, because they are the only ones who talk to one another. Mr Speaker, yesterday's criticism levelled at the Government by Mr McMullan and Mr Wood really shows how hypocritical and out of touch the Labor Party in Canberra is. It also reveals how little, if anything, Labor did for business in this town.

The concerns expressed by the gentlemen were made all the more laughable when they were raised on a day when the Government announced the establishment of the joint industry and government committee known as the ACT Supplier Development Committee. Mr Speaker, the role of this committee will be to assist businesses and industry in the Canberra region to improve opportunities to compete for government contracts by sharing information and procurement and industry development policies. It will comprise representatives of the ACT and Commonwealth governments as well as peak business and industry bodies. Mr Speaker, this represents a significant development for Canberra's business and industry sectors and will greatly assist them to compete for lucrative Commonwealth contracts potentially worth $80.5m. It is another initiative designed to help regional business and makes a mockery of the claims made yesterday by Messrs McMullan and Wood. Mr Speaker, the Government recognises the threats as well as the opportunities facing business in the Territory and is looking to maximise the opportunities through initiatives such as the Supplier Development Committee.

In addition to what was done yesterday, the Chief Minister has been heavily involved in the Canberra ministerial forum, an initiative facilitated by Warwick Smith. Two meetings have already taken place and have made considerable progress, both in developing strategies for stimulating the local economy and in discussing potential impediments to

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