Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 June 2009) . . Page.. 2454 ..
MS GALLAGHER: I did not seek political advantage, Mr Speaker. I sought an indication from ACT Health about whether or not facilities could be made available for an advertising campaign. I merely inquired and I said an approach would be made—an approach which I did not make.
MS BURCH: My question is to the Chief Minister. I understand that recently you appointed the former ACCC deputy commissioner John Martin to advise the government on supermarket competition policy. Why did you make this appointment and what does the government hope to get out of the process?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Burch for the question. I am sure members would agree that there is no better qualified person in Australia to advise the ACT government on this very complex area of competition policy. John Martin was a commissioner with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for 10 years, until June this year.
A central part of his commissioner role was special responsibilities for small business related matters. Commissioner Martin was chairman of the commission’s regulated access and price monitoring committee and was a member of the enforcement committee, the adjudication committee and the communications committee. Commissioner Martin was also responsible for health-related issues. He continues in a role as chairman of the International Air Services Commission and a board member of the Accreditation Board for Standards Development Organisations.
Prior to his appointment to the ACCC, John Martin had been executive director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In his role with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Martin was an advocate on issues affecting Australian business. He finished his appointment, as I said, in early June. I must say that I believe the ACT was very lucky to be able to secure his services to assist with our review of competition policy.
As members would be aware, the ACCC made a recommendation, through an inquiry in 2008—an inquiry, I am sure, that has strong resonance with state and municipal governments. The particular inquiry focused on how state, territory and municipal governments should approach matters going forward. It is very important that we do give serious consideration to issues in relation to competition within, most particularly, the retail grocery market. As I say, in that context, there is no better person than John Martin to translate the ACCC’s recommendations into a local context.
The review process will, therefore, look explicitly at the extent of competition in the ACT supermarket grocery sector in light of the findings in 2008 of the ACCC inquiry into the competitiveness in that sector; likely future trends in the structure of the ACT and Australian supermarket grocery sector; how the ACT government can support effective and sustainable competition in the grocery sector; policies that might be applied on a site-by-site basis to ensure site allocation supports the ACT