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Thursday, 1 March 1984
Page: 225

Senator BOSWELL —My question is directed to the Minister for Industry and Commerce who is responsible for small business. I refer to the proposal to shelve the Australian Capital Territory Leasing Ordinance. Is the Minister aware of the promise made by the Australian Labor Party to small business prior to the March election last year in its action program dated 13 February 1983, which stated that a model lease would be developed. Can the Minister advise why the Government has not been able to honour its commitment in this area after twelve months in office, while the Bjelke-Petersen Government yesterday met its electoral commitment for lease legislation after only two months of parliamentary sittings? Would a copy of the Queensland legislation help the Minister with this complex problem that the Government does not seem to be able to understand?

Senator BUTTON —As I recall, the Queensland Government has been in office for more than 20 years. That is the length of time that it has taken it to do anything about this topic which has been the subject of discussion in business areas for many years. It is in a similar category to the uniform building regulations with which the Queensland Government has had the same difficulty over the same period. So I do not believe I would get any help from the Queensland Government. The discussions that I have had with representatives of that Government on business matters have bordered on the inarticulate and I will not be seeking support from that source on those particular matters. With regard to the Australian Capital Territory Leasing Ordinance being shelved, I will make inquiries from the Minister for Territories and Local Government. It is within his area of responsibility. The question of a model lease being developed is still under consideration by the Department of Industry and Commerce.