Page 1191 - Week 04 - Thursday, 17 March 2005

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their homes. That is why these laws exist and why the task force is working on recommendations to us on the best way forward.

The task force is continuing with international research and evaluation of experiences in other jurisdictions and is testing several models for long-term management of asbestos in preparation for its report, which will be handed to government in August this year. I again thank the Assembly for its support in this process and acknowledge the work of the task force members in progressing the project to this stage.

I present the following paper:

Progress of the ACT Asbestos Taskforce—Ministerial statement, 17 March 2005

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Debate (on motion by Mr Mulcahy) adjourned to the next sitting.


Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received letters from Mrs Burke, Mrs Dunne, Dr Foskey, Ms MacDonald, Mr Mulcahy, Mr Pratt, Mr Seselja, Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Mr Mulcahy be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The state of the ACT economy.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (4.05): Some of the matters of public importance raised in my very early days in the Assembly were ones that I would look at and wonder where the importance was attached to them, but I think that it can be said that issues impacting on the economy in the ACT are of significance, of major importance. With the debate that has occurred in recent weeks in relation to commonwealth-territory and commonwealth-state financial relations, how we rate and what outcome we secure in relation to these negotiations become important.

But equally important is the overall management of our economy, the impact of the decisions taken by the government in relation to economic issues, taxation policy and the like, the way fiscal policy is handled and the consequences that will be experienced by the residents of the city in terms of managing to cope with the magnitude of those decisions.

There has been of late major national focus on what has been a relatively small increase in interest rates, which I will discuss a little further. I do not, in making that remark, diminish the importance of interest rate increases. Even when they were forecast, I did express a public view that I thought that the decision by the central bank was ill advised, but we will come to that matter at a later time.

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