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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1674 ..

MS TUCKER (5.20): I have a couple of comments, although I think a lot of what I shall say has also been said before. I wish to comment on the way the Chief Minister's Department operates, which seems to be an example of what is meant by the term "whole-of-government approach". Basically, that department controls most of what goes on, which means there are real inconsistencies occurring between what is supposedly going on in some departments and what is actually being taken over by the Chief Minister's Department.

Always I have to express concerns about the rather blind adherence to competition policy that I still believe is a feature of this Government, despite its protestations, which promotes the sale of ACTEW and ACTTAB and the deregulation of the ACT milk industry. It was interesting, to hear on the radio yesterday morning, I think it was, that the Liberal candidate - I cannot recall his name, but it came up in debate this morning in this place - - -

Ms Carnell: Ian Morison.

MS TUCKER: Ian Morison. He is, apparently, an expert on these things and he was asked by the interviewer whether he was concerned about competition policy. He said, "No, it is really good for all of Australia". The interviewer said, "Mm, it is a bit on the nose in the ACT. There have been a few issues like, you know, the pool and milk". He said, "Oh, we do not have to worry. We do not have that many cows in the ACT", or something to that effect. So you wonder about the expertise that is around in the Liberal Party on this matter.

When I heard it, I did think, "Come on, One Nation", because that is exactly the kind of comment that enrages people in the community who may not want to embrace alternatives to competition policy but just feel so frustrated when they hear those kinds of blanket statements. That is why they react against Liberal and Labor and will vote for parties such as One Nation - it is an easy way out. I would have thought anyone speaking publicly on these issues now from the Liberal Party would have realised they needed to show a bit more of a sophisticated understanding of the implications at present of competition policy on people in Australia, and in the ACT as well, of course, because it is coming up over and over again.

We are also concerned at the promotion of developer-driven planning by the Chief Minister's Department, such as Kinlyside and section 56 in Civic, despite the Government still having failed to produce any real strategic plan for the ACT or even the city area. The $6m boost to tourism marketing over the next three years, basically, is still feeding a cargo cult at the Olympics. It is not an alternative to sustainable economic policy. If the handling of entry fees for Floriade were an indication of how the money would be spent, this money would be better spent on promoting sustainable green industry in the ACT.

An amount of $500,000 is to go into the discredited Feel the Power campaign. That is an absolute waste, a scandalous waste, of money. The Government should just admit that that was a huge mistake and cut its losses. The Government says it is committed to the development of a strong and diverse arts industry in Canberra. It would have to be very strong to survive the cuts the Government has made to the Institute of the Arts.

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