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Tuesday, 29 May 1973
Page: 2738

Mr OLLEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is addressed to the Minister for the Capital Territory. I refer to his reported decision to reactivate the Prices Regulation Ordinance of the Australian Capital Territory and to appoint a prices controller. Does the Minister have in mind any particular cases as being appropriate for investigation by the prices controller? How does he see the Ordinance serving the interests of the people of Canberra?

Mr ENDERBY (Minister for the Northern Territory) - It is probably too early to give too many examples of the sort of use to which the Ordinance could be put, but it is well known that prices are higher in Canberra than in New South Wales and some other places. The reasons for this are sometimes hard to find. Two examples occur to me as possibly being suitable for reference to the prices controller when he starts his work. The first is me, announced intention of the New South Wales Government to withdraw its road transport co-ordination tax as it applies to the Australian Capital Territory. It is estimated that at the moment this tax could be costingconsumers in Canberra about $lm. It will be interesting to see whether prices, if not subject to the scrutiny of the prices controller, some down when that $lm, perhaps, is removed.Itisa possibility. I put it no higher than that.

The other example which occurs to me is mis: I am indebted to a constituent who the other day gave me 2 newspaper advertisements, both relating to a very well-known building company that operates in Melbourne and Canberra. It is an offer to put 'on your land' ahouse, which after all is nothing more than building materials and the services that go into putting the building materials together to form a house. The house is called '18.84 squares of quality of life'. The plan of the house appears in both advertisements. The plans are identical. The advertisements were inserted by the same company. The houses have the same name. The same description of extras is given. Details are given. There are identical financing provisions. The Melbourne price is $15,659. The Canberra price is $19,940. That, too, is something that could, with profit, be referred to the controller. I have the name of the company, but I will not use it in this place. If this statement comes to the notice of the company, it might care to get in touch with me.

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