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Democrats call for abolition of National Competition Council and restrictions on State Grants.

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Senator Andrew Murray Senator for Western Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Business & Corporate Affairs

Press Release Dated: 5 Feb 2001 Press Release Number: 01/54 Portfolio: Business & Corporate Affairs 

Democrats call for abolition of National Competition Council and restrictions on State Grants The National Competition Council should be abolished and the tying of $3.8 billion in States Grants to further regressive competition policy reform progress needs to end, according to the Australian Democrats.

Democrats’ Business Affairs spokesperson, Senator Andrew Murray, said today’s report by the National Competition Council outlining areas of State laws that needed to be changed to continue to receive indexed State grants showed that competition policy driven by ideology had clearly gone too far.

“When the Council is calling for the deregulation of Australia Post, broadcasting, community pharmacies, taxis, water, agricultural marketing, retail trading hours, railways and liquor licensing - issues where there are serious community concerns - then clearly Competition Policy is careering out of control,” Senator Murray said.

“The Federal Government must state categorically that grants to the States will not be affected if a State chooses, for good community interest reasons, to decide to continue to regulate taxis or trading hours, for instance.

“This report today by the National Competition Council demonstrates a marked lack of respect for community concerns and for any consideration in policy-making other than those driven by harsh, outdated economic models.

“Australians have had enough of this National Competition Policy. They will be outraged to learn that ideology is allowed to threaten the public funding of community services just because State Government have chosen to address genuine community concerns through regulatory systems.

“Surely governments must have learnt from the huge social costs of dairy deregulation that some reforms are just not worth the cost.

“If the Howard Government is seriously concerned about starting to address some of the community anger about economic reform, then the abolition of the National Competition Council would be a great place to start.

“The NCC has proven itself incapable of assessing environmental and social public interest requirements or of using full economic costings instead of a least cost approach.

“Today’s totally insensitive report by the Council is reason enough to put an end to the farce of current National Competition Policy once and for all.

“Review of State laws should be a matter for COAG and Government to Government talks, rather than an unelected committee,” Senator Murray concluded.


Top | Email | Tell us what you think Authorised by: Jim Downey, 10 Brisbane Avenue, Barton ACT 2604. Copyright © 2001 Australian Democrats Last modified: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:51:26 Today: Thu, 08 Feb 2001 09:13:49