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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 5030 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

building, sustaining the research and developing commercialisation plans. In that way, we will spend our money wisely and help businesses to grow.

We also need to promote existing small businesses. I think the white paper is very short of ideas to help small businesses in the territory. CRIPs are being scrapped and the government is instead putting forward a new pre-tender process to inform local businesses about major upcoming ACT government contracts. This new process will not guarantee that government contracts are small enough for local businesses to manage, so I am doubtful that outcomes will improve for small businesses. It appears that there are simple and inexpensive alternatives that have been overlooked.

All too often ACT government contracts are offered on a scale too big for local small businesses to cope with. The million-dollar graffiti cleaning contract that Urban Services manages is being run out of New South Wales because no ACT business could do it all at once. Local small businesses would win more work if the ACT government split its contracts into manageable pieces that local businesses could tender for. The government could also help existing businesses win interstate and international work by facilitating consortiums to bid for contracts. That would be a vote of confidence in our existing businesses. Again, it is about providing support and resources. Some of these recommendations are targeted towards that, but the big ones that will result in change do not appear to be there.

The Treasurer has spoken today about the work that is being done by NICTA. I draw members' attention to page 85 of the economic white paper. We had a presentation of what the proposed re-development of section 61 City West, the NICTA building, would look like. That is a very important part of what NICTA is going to be doing. In Monday's Canberra Times we were told that the plan was rejected last month.

So we actually have a vision and a target-if you want to say this is a target-a graphic representation of what the Treasurer will build on the site given to NICTA, but the Canberra Times quite clearly says that this plan was rejected last month by ACT planners. NICTA has, in fact, submitted a third proposal at about the same time the economic white paper was being put down. I guess that is just a small oversight that happened in the printing of the economic white paper.

The government seems to think more highly of businesses that do not yet exist rather than on small businesses currently operating in the territory-and this is articulated in the white paper. The lack of timelines in the white paper was a disappointment but I think its problems go a lot deeper than that. Some very simple solutions to assist businesses in the ACT have been overlooked.

MRS DUNNE (4.14): It is appropriate for Ms Dundas to point out the planning foibles, towards the conclusion of her very creditable presentation on what is wrong with the white paper. Much of what happens in this town depends on the planning system, which is the victim of a searing indictment in the white paper. Throughout the paper we have things that really say, "Look, lads, we've got to get better at this. This planning matter is a complete and utter disaster. We've got to fix it up before we all go broke."Last week we talked about the planning disasters, the state of planning in the ACT, presided over by the Minister for Planning, and the minister's failures.

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