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Wednesday, 18 February 1987
Page: 302

Mr RONALD EDWARDS(7.16) —I wish to address a few matters to this chamber this evening. The first one is pleasing to all of us. In the early stages of the run-up to the America's Cup there were reports to me, which I was able to check out myself, that a substantial amount of litter from spectator craft was being washed up on beaches in Perth. Clearly, that would present a problem for beachgoers during the summer. We drew this to the attention of the Fremantle Port Authority and the Marine and Harbours Department. Sensibly, they commenced an education program to try to encourage people to do the right thing and not to throw litter over the sides of their vessels.

Even people who are not familiar with Perth would recognise the well-known phrase `Fremantle doctor', which is a south-westerly wind. It means that because of the proximity of the America's Cup course to the Perth beaches there would have been a lot of flotsam on the beaches from people in pleasure craft watching the races. My colleagues, the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Rocher), the honourable member for Cowan (Ms Jakobsen) and the honourable member for Moore (Mr Blanchard), and I recently checked with beachgoers in the coastal suburbs and found that that was not a problem. I commend the Fremantle Port Authority, the Marine and Harbours Department and the people who were on the water because I think they showed great responsibility. The thousands of beachgoers in Perth during the summer were able to use beaches normally without having to deal with what at the outset looked to be a serious litter problem. The people of Perth and those who came to Perth might take just credit for that.

The second matter I refer to is serious and it concerns the depreciation allowance on new capital investment. We ought to be looking at doing something extra to induce investment activity in the buildings area. One of the issues I have discussed with the Master Builders Federation of Australia Inc. and other people in the industry is depreciation allowance on new capital investment in buildings. We ought to be looking seriously at extending that allowance from 4 per cent to 8 per cent. It is the sort of move that would provide some extra stimulus to the building industry. A Minister in this place who has substantial experience in business recognises this as an important issue which we ought to be taking seriously.

The third matter I raise is the football program The Winners. Madam Speaker, you would be aware that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation dropped The Winners from its programming last week. This was drawn to my attention.

Mr John Brown —It dropped this lot; it dropped the losers.

Madam SPEAKER —Just concentrate on The Winners.

Mr RONALD EDWARDS —I will. The ABC, in its new program schedules, was seeking to drop The Winners. I was concerned because people in Western Australia in particular can be disadvantaged by communication. Also, people in country areas can miss out on the better forms of communication that eastern Australia experiences. We decided to run a telephone poll and we received 2,529 calls in two days. I thank all the people who called for their enthusiasm in watching and supporting the ABC. They made many favourable comments about the presenter and the production crew who regularly put The Winners to air. The people who rang felt that The Winners was an important part of their viewing of the ABC. I am also pleased to advise the House that the ABC, very sensibly, has reversed that decision and The Winners is to remain in place. People in this place would have close affection for particular teams. I know, Madam Speaker, that looking back on 1986 you would feel particularly happy about the experience you had as a follower of Hawthorn. Many people here would look forward to the Victorian Football League coverage continuing to be available throughout Australia, and certainly in Western Australia. On an ecumenical note, I also endorse the ABC's coverage of rugby league from Sydney. It was pleasing to many of us to note that that was provided to places in Western Australia.

I conclude by saying that I think the ABC's decision to reverse its original decision was sensible. It is a tribute that the Managing Director, David Hill, was able quickly to recognise that there was a market out there, particularly in the country areas, that would not be served if The Winners were dropped. I congratulate the ABC and the many people who showed determination in their support for it.

Motion (by Mr West) put:

That the question be now put.