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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 104 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

After the Sheen report was delivered to the Minister, the ACT Competition Policy Forum reviewed the report. The Competition Policy Forum, as each of us knows, is a forum which was established as a result of an exercise of the will of this Assembly. It was established by the Government following an Assembly resolution that we establish in the ACT a forum to advise the Assembly on the application of competition principles. The Competition Policy Forum is a forum comprised of significant members of this community expert in the application and implications of competition policy. It is an extremely important body. Unfortunately, it is a body that, I believe, has only ever reported once. I think the only report that it has ever delivered is its report into the Sheen report.

It is a body of leading ACT experts on competition policy, a body established by this Assembly to advise this Assembly on competition issues, and it delivered a report which can only, with great respect to Ms Sheen, be described as damning of the Sheen report. It is damning of that report. I am not aware that the Government has responded to the Competition Policy Forum's report on the milk industry. I do not believe it has. The Minister may be able to correct me, but I have seen no response by this Government to the Competition Policy Forum's review of the Sheen report and its implications for the milk industry.

That is a major failing in the Government's position. It is an expression of the flawed processes that we, as an Assembly and as a community, have adopted in relation to issues around competition policy that the body which we established, the body which this Assembly established to look at competition issues, reports on something as vital as this and the Government does not even deign to respond to the raft of criticisms which the report of that forum makes of the Sheen report's approach to this issue.

It is probably enlightening in this context, Mr Speaker, that I refer just briefly to some of the comments of the Competition Policy Forum. The Competition Policy Forum - through its chairman, Mr Brian Acworth - reports to the Assembly:

In receiving the Review of the Milk Authority Act 1971 and the Public Health (Dairy) Regulations, (hereafter referred to as "the Review"), the Forum expected a document which clearly laid out:

. the structure of the milk industry and the regulatory arrangements that govern it;

. a concise discussion of the implications of the Competition Principles Agreement and related requirements for the regulatory structure of the industry, including a statement of the legal requirements affecting decisions regarding existing and proposed regulation;

. an explanation of how the public benefits test is to be applied in this case;

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