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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3734 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

The Labor Party is committed to recommendation 2 and, of course, to a number of others. If it were up to us, we would not have to go down the compensation track. These people are professionals in their field and they can work it out for themselves, and we want to leave them alone to do that. However, we need to beef up enforcement, the regulations and the law. I think these recommendations are particularly sensible and I hope they give the industry a lot of encouragement. I commend the report to the Assembly.

MR RUGENDYKE (11.05): I, too, rise to say how pleased I am with this report of the Planning and Urban Services Committee. It seems to me that governments of all persuasions have a desire to be totally enveloped by competition policy. That seems to be the driving force. Indeed, the Freehills report was mainly about competition policy.

The Planning and Urban Services Committee found that there already is a degree of deregulation; that there are apparently enough operators in the ACT at the moment; and that some of the operators are struggling to make a living. There are several niche markets and different types of hire facilities and I think it is important that those niche markets are looked after and that the different aspects of the hire industry are properly regulated. Those niche markets include vintage hire cars and a business that takes people on wine tours. At the moment the operator of the wine tours is restricted to using Tarago vans to take wealthy clients to wineries and the fabulous places in our city. All the operator requires is permission to take clients around our beautiful city in BMWs or Jags-in something much neater than a Tarago van. That niche market, which I do not think impacts on the hire car industry per se, needs to be looked after.

Mr Speaker, I believe that the hire car industry as a whole needs to be more cooperative. There is a lot of conflict within that industry and I would like to see the different parts of it cooperate with each other. I think it is unfortunate and a shame that the industry will always be very divided. However, the industry needs to cooperate if it is to work better and be profitable.

Mr Speaker, the recommendations in our report are important and good. I hope the government picks them up and I look forward to hearing how this report is received by all players in this industry.

MR HIRD (11.09): Mr Speaker, in closing the debate, I want first to briefly acknowledge Mr Hargreaves' assistance and, in particular, his interest in this subject. For some reason there seems to be a misunderstanding in the bureaucracy that there are only 22-or 25 if you add the three cars across the border-cars active in the industry. There are more than 50 vehicles active within this industry. They all take a slice of the pie, and they do it in their own way. That is why we, as a committee, in recommendation 7 came down very heavily in favour of the need for identification to assist the industry and the bureaucracy.

In closing, let me say, not only as the chairman but as the government representative on the committee, that the government is, and has always been, listening to small business. As you would know, Mr Speaker, it is the government's policy to do so. The government is listening, and the government will act, but it has to proceed with due process.

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