Page 2635 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 August 2015

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regulatory burden on business? I was very encouraged on budget day to see a very substantial red tape reduction bill tabled. But when you start reading through it, you realise that it is not reducing red tape for business; it is reducing red tape for government. It is making it easier for government to do business, not making it easier for business to do business. Yet again we have a Labor government that do not understand business, are serving themselves and are not helping the community that they are elected to represent.

Need I mention the motion that we moved here in this Assembly last week to highlight the silence from those opposite when it comes to the unruly, unscrupulous behaviour of the CFMEU on construction sites in the ACT? The silence has been deafening. For the business community, the silence has been more scary than the revelations that have come through the royal commission itself. If we are ever to tackle the problem that the union has perpetrated on construction sites in the territory, it is going to take leadership. It is going to take a government to stand up and say, “From this day forward we have zero tolerance for bullying, zero tolerance for corruption, zero tolerance for cartel behaviour on ACT construction sites.” I know that those opposite stood up last week, and they will do it again, and defend the track records of the unions and say it is about work safety, about protecting workers; but I would suggest that when you are trying to do that to the detriment of the employer, in the end you will be protecting unemployed people.

Let me go to areas where I think this budget missed out. It was certainly a budget of missed opportunities. There was an opportunity to support local businesses further, include more local content in government works and include more content in government procurement. We have already discussed it today, but our lawns are now mown by the Melbourne city council. I have moved a motion in this place about that. Time and time again we see construction projects supplying all types of procurement within the territory going to out-of-town operators at the expense of local businesses. I do not think that those opposite understand that whilst they increase regulation, they increase red tape, they set a gold-plated service for all businesses in the territory and they make Canberra the pinnacle of how things could be done, they do not understand the cost implications.

When you have a business in the ACT having to comply with all the extra red tape—the burden, the tighter regulation, the tighter licensing controls and the increased fees that come with them—compared to a business in New South Wales, and when both are competing in a competitive market, you see the business in the ACT losing out because government has imposed so much additional burden on them compared to their counterpart across the border. It is about time business had a competitive advantage by being based in the ACT, not a disadvantage.

Madam Speaker, every year we get some very classic quotes from the budget. I will reflect on last year’s estimates process where the Treasurer said that because of the increases—(Second speaking period taken.)

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