Page 4150 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 21 September 2011

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I am very pleased that we will hopefully have a more productive discussion tomorrow, because it has been incredibly disappointing to me how little either the Liberal Party or the Labor Party were prepared to engage in the issues on this. Supermarket policy and what happens to our retail hierarchy is actually a substantive issue.

I also think that the Liberal Party are not paying attention to what is actually happening if they think that the major problem is the government’s supermarket policy. I think you could say what you like about the government’s supermarket policy but one thing is fairly clear: it does not appear to me it has been implemented in the ACT to any particular degree. Mr Martin, in his document, had a lot of general principles but, in terms of application of those, I challenge the Liberal Party to identify where they have actually been identified.

Giralang is certainly not one of them because it was a direct sale to Woolies as a local supermarket. That was not what Mr Martin was talking about. I would have thought, though, if the Liberal Party wished to be consistent in what it was saying, that the major point that the Martin review was talking about was competitive tension within the group centres. A lot of work was being put into ensuring that there was a Woolies and a Coles or an Aldi in group centres, and if direct sales is where the Liberal Party has an issue, I would strongly recommend that the Liberal Party actually re-reads my motion and supports at least (2)(b) which is to:

suspend consideration of any applications not already determined for direct sales of land in existing shopping centres for the purpose of expansion of supermarket use, until an inquiry has been concluded and the Assembly has noted the Government response to an inquiry report;

Direct sales were the major issue that came out of the John Martin review and that would be the major thing that he presumably was talking about.

The other thing that I should say very strongly is that one of the emphases of the Martin review was on supporting small businesses. What John Martin said very strongly—and I did have a number of private briefings with Mr Martin—was that what he was trying to do was ensure that the smaller operators, Supabarn and IGA, were of a viable size so that they were big enough to have effective wholesaling and cheaper supplies to the IGAs and Supabarns so that they could provide viable competition. He was very considerate of the IGAs’ feeling that their biggest problem was lack of decent, competitive wholesaling supplies.

Our understanding of John Martin’s strategy was that it was aimed at supporting small, independent businesses. The Greens certainly aim to support small, independent businesses and we definitely reject Mr Seselja’s attempts to say anything else about the Greens’ policy. I would also like to point out to the Liberal Party that we had a number of discussions with them about this policy between the previous sitting week and now. Unfortunately they did not indicate any support at that stage for any consideration of anything. But I am glad to at least know we will have a select

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