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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3731 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

its deliberations. I would also like to thank Mr Rugendyke and Mr Corbell for their assistance. This is, as I said at the beginning of my remarks, a unanimous report and I commend it to the house.

MR SPEAKER: Before I call Mr Hargreaves, I would like to recognise the presence in the gallery of the first of two groups from Torrens Primary School, year 6. Welcome to your Assembly.

MR HARGREAVES (10.54): Mr Speaker, I am delighted to see someone from the glorious electorate of Brindabella visit us, and I am sure Mr Osborne is absolutely tickled pink.

MR SPEAKER: There must be an election coming up.

MR HARGREAVES: There is an election coming on. Unfortunately for us all, Mr Speaker, nobody in the group, bar one, can vote.

Mr Speaker, I rise to make some comments on this report. I am absolutely delighted to see the report. I attended the public meetings of the committee and I heard some stories that were told by people who would be affected by any changes. We had the opportunity to look into their eyes. We saw fear in those eyes, and this really did affect each and every member of the committee. I want to place on the record my appreciation of those people having the courage to come to a daunting event such as an Assembly committee meeting and bear their souls. I think that was a big thing for them to do.

Mr Speaker, I would like to go through a couple of the recommendations. Many of them speak for themselves. Recommendation 2 is significant. It states:

... that deregulation of the hire car industry not take place and that no new plates be issued at this time.

Mr Speaker, this recommendation hinges on the fact that there was no reason to deregulate in the first place.

The aim of national competition policy is to do away with legislation which prevents competition from being the order of the day. We have got a number of people competing in the industry already and so, therefore, there is competition. The committee recognised that competition already exists, so there is no real need for the NCP to be applied in that sense. I was pleased to see that the committee has identified that, and I would urge the government to give high priority to recommendation 2. I think the government should drop any intention it has to deregulate the industry.

Recommendation 3 is concerned about what would happen if the government considered that compliance with the NCP agreement required deregulation of the hire car industry. As I have said, the government does not have to do anything because there is already competition in the industry. But I also note that the committee has said, "Well, if you feel that you have to deregulate the industry, then fair competition ought to be the go."

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