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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 4386 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

of Mr Berry, I announced the establishment of a business link service designed to directly assist business in the Territory to grow and build for the future. Whom did I do that with? With the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. They are very happy to work very closely with the Government. They actually talk to us.

Mr Berry picks up a little article that he read in the Canberra Times and says, "Just because it says so in the Canberra Times" - I do not know who wrote it; it quoted a little bit of what Mr Dalton said - "therefore, let us try to play political football".

Mrs Carnell: It shows they have nothing else to say.

MR DE DOMENICO: They have nothing else to say. It is also in line with our commitment to provide resources at the sharp end of the Public Service. He mentioned the Public Service as well. Mr Whitecross and Mr Berry will throw their arms up in the air and cry, "Business advice is a service that should be provided by the Government". What we are doing is making sure that any small business in the ACT that is in trouble now has a mentoring service where they can actually ask questions of businesses which are not in trouble and which have been successful, so that they can survive. Yes, we all know that some small businesses in the ACT are doing it hard and will probably continue to do it hard. But at least we are not sitting on our hands or resting on our laurels; we are working very closely with the business community to help, and we will succeed.

MR BERRY: When will this Minister concede that most small businesses are hoping that it will not get any worse under this Government?

MR SPEAKER: That is a rhetorical question. I do not know how the Minister can answer that.

Very Fast Train

MR HIRD: My question is to the Chief Minister. Can the Chief Minister inform the house whether there has been any progress in recent times in discussions between the ACT, New South Wales and Federal governments regarding the very high speed train between Canberra and Sydney?

MRS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Hird. Again, all those opposite do is laugh. Today, interestingly, is Mr Whitecross's nine-month anniversary in the job and he still has to come up with an idea. That is just one of those things. Mr Speaker, I would like to thank those opposite for giving me a pair this morning because I was having a meeting with the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister, I am delighted to say, today announced that the Commonwealth will be supporting a tendering process for the development of the very high speed train between Canberra and Sydney. The Prime Minister, Bob Carr and I have agreed that expressions of interest should be called from the private sector for this really important project. That takes the project from the feasibility stage to the implementation phase. I am fascinated, Mr Speaker, that those opposite are laughing and still knocking a project that Ms Follett supported.

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