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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3336 ..

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, I wish to make a brief statement in relation to the petition.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: I simply wish to record the fact that the 278 signatories to this petition are either people who are currently undergoing treatment in an oncology unit or their family or carers. The point that was made to me by the people who prepared the petition was that they did not go out and seek public support for this particular petition; it was simply circulated by people using those facilities and by their families and carers. It represents a group of consumers of oncology services at the Canberra Hospital. I thought it was relevant that I make that point in relation to this very important matter.


MR BERRY (10.34): I present the Holidays Amendment Bill.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BERRY: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

The Holidays Amendment Bill 1999 will make a relatively minor amendment to the Holidays Act 1958. As members will appreciate, the Holidays Act controls public holidays in the ACT and has been the subject of consideration by the Assembly in the last few years because of union picnic day. Happily, the Assembly supported my moves on that occasion to entrench the longstanding union picnic day in the Holidays Act. In the Bill I introduce today, I am seeking to add a half-day public holiday in the ACT on 31 December. Remember, Mr Speaker, that the Government has allocated $500,000 for an end of year celebration. So it is an important year in the scheme of things.

Ms Carnell: It is all right; we are not starting the celebration until 9 o'clock.

MR BERRY: She is not starting the celebrations until 9 o'clock.

Ms Carnell: Sorry, 6 o'clock.

MR BERRY: I will come back to that later. The Bill contains a simple amendment intended for this year only. It is a one-off holiday for the coming of the year 2000. The same thing might happen towards the end of the next millennium. I am happy to be here, if anybody can arrange that, to move a similar motion for another half-day holiday, but I rather suspect that will not be the case.

This year is a special year. All the community is preparing to celebrate the transition from 1999 to 2000, with a greater sense of moment and history than we usually reserve for New Year's Eve. It has also been recognised as a special year in the ACT, with the Carnell Government's allocation of $500,000 for a big New Year's Eve celebration.

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