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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 4385 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

to the concerned businessperson:

Let's send Kate a message.

My turnover figures for July-October are up ... down -

by a percentage figure -

If you can still afford a stamp, send this ad to Box 3337 Manuka ACT 2603

It then mentions the names of the companies. How do you reconcile your claims with that ad? How do you reconcile your claims, Mr Minister, with the responses from ACT businesses, as I have described?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Mr Berry for his question. Mr Berry, of course, does not mention the fact that there is, for example, a 5.3 per cent increase in retail sales in the ACT which, I am told, is higher than the national average. That tells me that at 5.3 per cent we are higher than the national average.

Mr Whitecross: Is that what small business is telling you?

Mrs Carnell: It is what the Bureau of Stats is telling us.

MR DE DOMENICO: Some small businesses in Canberra are doing quite well, and that is what the Bureau of Stats is telling me. Unlike Mr Berry, who all of a sudden has become, supposedly, Mr Business, I go around and speak to plenty of small businesses, one to one.

Mr Whitecross: And they all say that they are doing well?

MR DE DOMENICO: Many of them say that they are doing okay, Mr Whitecross. They all say that they have had hardship. I agree with Mr Dalton that there are many small businesses out there still doing it real tough. If Mr Berry had listened closely to what Mr Dalton said on radio and if he had spoken to Mr Dalton, as I have, by the way, Mr Berry, he would have also realised that 60 per cent of those people surveyed by the Yellow Pages that Mr Dalton was talking about were, in fact, happy with the performance of the ACT Government. The fact that 40 per cent were not happy and 60 per cent were happy tells me that a significant number of small businesses in the ACT were happy. The ones that are not happy we talked to as well, Mr Berry. This Government is not perfect yet. We are very close to it, I might say.

In fact, I am glad that Mr Berry asked me that question, because the Assembly has discussed at length many of these initiatives that the Government has put in place for small business. These include an increased capital works program, the business incentive scheme, the Business Development Fund and the efforts of Cantrade. We have not fallen into the trap of allowing either ourselves or the ACT economy to be disheartened by those opposite, including Mr Berry, who stand up and predict doom and gloom all the time; nor have we rested on our laurels. Only last week, for example, for the edification

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