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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1058 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

Mr Speaker, maybe we should start calling Mr Corbell "Simple Simon", because it seems that he wants a simple answer to a very complex question.

Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I invite - - -

MR SPEAKER: Would you like that withdrawn?

Mr Corbell: Yes, I would like that withdrawn, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Would you mind, Chief Minister.

MS CARNELL: I withdraw, Mr Speaker.

Milk Marketing

MR OSBORNE: I, too, welcome the delegation from New Zealand. I always find it interesting that we get delegations from New Zealand here in the rugby union season; but they do not seem to come out during the cricket season. I do not know why that is.

Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Mrs Carnell, as you will recall, I asked you this morning to approach Woolworths and National Foods about some sort of compromise with Capitol Chilled Foods over milk distribution. Could you tell me whether you made any progress and whether you were able to get the two parties talking together.

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, the one thing that, I believe, Mr Osborne and, certainly, the Government are concerned about in this case is Canberra jobs. The real problem we have in this situation is that this is a commercial deal between a number of companies. Woolworths is involved, National Foods is involved and certainly Capitol Chilled Foods is involved. I have to say that, under normal circumstances, in no way would I get involved in what is a commercial deal between various companies. I am sure that Mr Osborne shares this view. In this situation, as there are jobs at stake, I made those phone calls. We have spent quite a lot of time on it, as Mr Osborne knows. At Mr Osborne's request, I contacted the parties - Woolworths, Capitol Chilled Foods and National Foods - and I am very hopeful that the parties are now at least talking.

Mr Speaker, I particularly wanted to get the parties talking about why Capitol Chilled Foods had initially refused to process the Woolworths milk at a market rate. I understand that that offer was there initially, and, shall we say, the negotiations did not go terribly far. Mr Speaker, I do not want to raise anybody's expectations here; but I repeat that this sort of matter is not very easy for governments to fix; that is, commercial negotiations between particular parties.

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