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COAG delay jeopardises competition policy reform



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01 Dec '94 15:11 No .009 P.02 1

JOHN MOORE

SHADOW . MINISTER FOR INDUS '1 1 COMMERCE AND PRIVATISATION

COAG DELAY JEOPARDISES COMPETITION POLICY REFORM

The Prime Minister's decision to delay the scheduled February 1995 COAG meeting is a further sign of the Commonwealth Government's growing "reform fatigue".

After the failure to reach agreement at the August COAG meeting, it is a matter of national priority that the Commonwealth Government and the State and Territory Governments resolve their outstanding differences of opinion as soon as possible. Further delay unnecessarily places at risk the benefits that will flow to private business and

consumers from implementation of a national competition policy.

Mr Keating's claim that the delay relates to the possible timing of the NSW and ACT elections is nothing more than a pathetic excuse..

Mr Keating was well aware of the electoral timetable for all States and Territories when he agreed to schedule the next COAG meeting for 23-24 February 1995. His decision to delay the COAG meeting now is simply motivated by political expediency and a desire to avoid confronting the need to reach a workable agreement with the States and Territories.

It is typical of the contempt and disdain that Mr Keating has repeatedly shown for Commonwealth-State relations.

Over recent months the Keating Government has repeatedly behaved in a way which is inconsistent with the endorsed principles of a national competition policy and has accumulated a growing list of policy failures in the area of tnicroeconomic reform. These

• The deal with the Maritime Union over sale of ANL, which is likely to hand effective control of the company to the union, while at the same time the Government baulked at introducing truly competitive reforms to the Australian maritime industry.

• The unilateral decision to revoke the agreement with the New Zealand Government for the implementation of' a single trans-Tasman domestic aviation market, A decision which directly contradicted the policy direction of the Prime Minister's own One Nation statement.

1 December 1994

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For further information contact John Moore (07) 878 2660.

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