Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 926 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
The financial benefits that have been projected to flow from the Hilmer reforms have been scrutinised in many quarters. It was claimed that the economic growth implications that would flow from the Hilmer reforms would be as great as 4.5 per cent. As Professor John Quiggin has pointed out, these figures are based on many assumptions about the productivity effects of micro-economic reform, as well as on an assumption that the benefits will flow to the economy as a whole. This is clearly not the case, and the milk industry is a case in point. The big players certainly will benefit; but the cost will be to local industry and local jobs.
We had a very detailed and thoughtful submission from the Milk Authority when we had that select committee looking at competition policy. I would like to read a couple of parts of that submission. I was interested to see the Milk Authority's mission statement, which is:
1. The Authority recognises that it is consumer driven.
2. It sees as its mission therefore to:
Ensure that ACT consumers receive milk that:
. Is affordable, particularly for young families,
. Is of the highest possible quality,
. Covers the broadest possible range of products to meet the individual needs and demands of consumers, and
. Is in reliable and sufficient supply.
Mr Speaker, have you seen the mission statement of Woolworths or Davids? I will bet you that the first point on their mission statement is to maximise profit, because that is what I see in the mission statement of every private sector organisation. Here you have a mission statement from a body that has a broader community interest and a commitment to quality. This is one of the things that we are throwing away in the name of competition.
The other thing that is important is that the Milk Authority made it quite clear that what it believes to be the result of regulation is that the industry is cohesive and that, therefore, consumers enjoy the following: Prices that are the lowest or amongst the lowest in Australia; a choice of fresh milk products, with one of the widest ranges in Australia; a high-quality, reliable, regular supply; the security of government control over prices, product range, packaging and product standards; and the benefits of closely monitored product quality standards, including matters relating to public health issues.
The authority also believes that the community otherwise benefits from access to a broad portfolio of sponsorship of sporting and artistic activities, principally aimed at junior activities and events. That is interesting. I noticed just recently that a woman from a school parents and citizens association - as we know, those associations have