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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 100 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

The fourth one is an important one, that is, that it will retain the current licensing and exclusive zoning arrangements for home vendors, although it notes that that cannot continue indefinitely because it is, in effect, a continuation of a non-competitive policy. But I believe that the vendors had rights that needed to be protected to give them an opportunity to restructure, to come to some new arrangements as to the way they operate, to preserve the goodwill of business that they had operated, either created or purchased. I think that there needs to be an adjustment period so that those people can adapt to the new world that some of us enter reluctantly with this so-called competition policy. I am not at all convinced that competition policy in all its aspects is necessarily a good thing for the Territory or for the consumer; but, whether we believe it is or it is not, it is with us and we have to adapt to it.

The fifth point that the Minister made was that he would maintain support for the sole ACT-based dairy, Goldenholm. That is a very important matter because, without some sort of support from the Government, that dairy, the only Canberra dairy, in my view will simply cease to exist. I think that would be a very great loss because it is not just an operating dairy; it is in many ways a community facility. I know that the owners take schoolkids there and show them how the industry works. I have been invited there to see their operation, not that I am unfamiliar with dairy farms as I grew up on one. It is more than just an operating dairy farm, and I think that it is something that we need to retain for as long as we can.

The final one, of course, is that, although the role of the Milk Authority will be reduced somewhat, it will still exist. I think that it is important that we keep that body in existence because it has served a useful purpose and I am sure that it will continue to do so, even in a reduced form.

Those objectives of the Government which the Minister assures us he will attend to cover what I thought were the essential features of the old system - reasonable price, assured supply, security of employment, maintenance of the existing ACT dairy - and I am prepared to accept the assurances of the Minister that he will maintain those aspects of the milk supply and dairy product supply industry in Canberra. For those reasons, I support the Bill.

MR RUGENDYKE (10.53): Mr Speaker, I rise in support of this Bill. Last year I had reservations about the Bill; however, my concerns have subsequently been allayed. A case in point is the milk vendors, who had previously voiced their opposition. Their main concern is the immediate protection of their zones and their licences. I have since had representations from milk vendors that this will be best achieved under the proposed legislation. The other measures in the Bill are a sensible approach to the transitional phase of the local milk industry. Therefore, I will be supporting the Bill.

MS TUCKER (10.54): Mr Speaker, this Bill extends the Trade Practices Act authorisation for the contracts between the Milk Authority and the local processor and distributor of Canberra Milk products until 31 December 1999. The Bill maintains price setting on milk, but transfers these activities to the Treasurer for referral to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Commissioner. The Bill also transfers responsibility for regulation of milk vending to the Minister for Urban Services. It will now allow milk vendors to sell other brands of milk.

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