Page 3402 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 19 August 2009

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successfully nationally with its product and internationally but was unable to get support from the very government that actually enabled it to start its business. Ms Burch, we do applaud your sentiments but you do have an advantage. You are sitting on the government side. I urge you to look into some of these areas that you have brought to our attention. Have a look at how the reality of life for small businesses equates to the words of wisdom that we are hearing here today.

How many local businesses and micro businesses are successful in turning to the ACT government? Is there a preferential policy for the local supply of items to our hospitals, schools and ACT government agencies? These are questions that must be asked and answered as part of the small business forum. A lot of the businesses in your area of Tuggeranong, Ms Burch, will be keen to see how you can influence some of these issues.

How much notice is taken of small businesses at the local shopping level where essential repairs and infrastructure improvements have been neglected? All of these factors play a very important part in the profitability of these essential businesses at suburbs all around Canberra. Before I was elected to the Assembly last year I was involved in meetings with local shopkeepers in Calwell and Gowrie as well as with concerned members of the community in these areas. I was also involved in presenting a petition to the then minister for TAMS, John Hargreaves. It was a petition signed by over 600 concerned residents relating to public safety issues, which also have an impact on the profitability on the shopkeepers at Calwell and Gowrie.

All of these issues are still waiting to be addressed. They were waiting three years at the time that we took the petition to Minister Hargreaves. But what was Minister Hargreaves’s reaction to the petition from 600 people? It was totally dismissive. He said, “You can get 6,000 signatures as far as I am concerned. They will not make an iota of difference.” And they did not. There was nothing done and this was pre an election. The iota of difference that Mr Hargreaves was referring to was repaid in abundance at the election. The arrogance of that pre-election activity was well known to the community. I believe that the community did make some difference to Minister Hargreaves’s election results and a dramatic difference to Mr Gentleman’s results.

Over the past few months I have also received representations from the owners of the Theodore supermarket regarding serious safety issues that have been brought to this government’s attention and have not been attended to. Ms Burch, whilst I obviously support the fine sentiments in the motion, you will understand my scepticism about the reality of this government’s support of business in general and small business in particular.

MS BURCH (Brindabella) (5.51), in reply: I thank members for their support of this motion. I will take on board those comments that have sense to them and some level of reality. But if we are looking at the reality of the impact of this government and our approaches, I think we need to look no further than the effect on the construction industry around our schools and our social housing policy.

In the media just this week there was reference to new social housing in Narrabundah. Just in that project alone, I could not count on my fingers and toes the number of

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