Local, Independant and Effective

Cathy seeks results on cross Border discussions

Posted June 21, 2018


Cathy has sought a timeline for results of a commitment between NSW, Victoria and the Commonwealth to overcome cross Border anomalies

Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (14:18): My question is to the minister for small and family business. We know that red tape, inconsistent regulations and disparities across borders are severely limiting economic opportunity for businesses, particularly in my communities of Albury and Wodonga. We did appreciate you bringing your New South Wales and Victorian colleagues to Wodonga on 12 June, and I welcome the commitment to overcome border anomalies. Now my communities are asking: when will we start seeing the results of these discussions, and will you take a leadership role in holding the state governments to account to deliver on these commitments?

Mr LAUNDY (ReidMinister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation) (14:19): I thank the member for Indi, for her question and her passion, along with the member for Farrer, who joined me on the day as well for this very important issue of cross-border red tape and regulation. I also note, in cross-border form today, we have up in the gallery the Wodonga Catholic school from one side of the border and Scots School Albury from the other side of the border. On 12 June, I and the member for Indi got together with the Deputy Premier of New South Wales, John Barilaro, and the Victorian Minister for Small Business, Philip Dalidakis. We agreed and signed the intent. We picked four areas that frustrate the cross-border relationship, namely: taxis, tradesperson licencing, heavy vehicle transport and RSA—responsible service of alcohol and conduct of gambling.

We have the crazy situation where a caravan manufacturer in Victoria, Jayco, can take three caravans on a truck but, at the border, has to take one off. It can carry two straight through New South Wales and, at the Queensland border, can put three back on. This is the sort of rubbish that we've got to overcome that is overwhelmingly apparent at the border towns. But the theory here is that if we can get New South Wales and Victoria to agree, the benefits will flow across the entire state. As my father always said, 'When you put those two states together, they spill more beer than the other states drink.' So it is a very pragmatic and practical approach.

The Deputy Premier of New South Wales has already done it with us, as has New South Wales, the ACT and Queensland, so it is not a first. The minister, Philip Dalidakis, has taken away a document that he will get the Premier to agree to. We will sign a memorandum of understanding in the next couple of months, I'm told. But, more importantly, that hasn't stopped the department starting to work on these areas that we've talked about, so it won't be long, I hope. We're talking inside three months that we get the first deliverable. I hope it deals with things such as: when a taxi picks up someone in Albury and drops them 15 minutes away in Wodonga, it cannot legally pick someone up in Wodonga and take them back over the border. It is that sort of lunacy that we're talking about.

We had the mayors there as well, so we are talking about three levels of government. I'm already having discussions with the small business minister for Tasmania and the new small business minister, Stephan Knoll, in South Australia, with a view to bolting them on. The idea here is: COAG hasn't worked. Historically, it's hard to get everyone to get together and to come together. If we can come up with the two big states and then bolt others on over time, we can do and deliver from day one. That's the great hope that we have: deliverables within three months. I look forward to working with the member for Farrer moving forward to make sure we can fix this problem for the whole economy.

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