Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 2 Hansard (22 February) . . Page.. 565..
For two years, they have had to wait until very close to the due date for annual fees before knowing what they were required to pay the government.
The details of the amendment are straightforward and to some extent it is a shame that such an amendment is needed. I do believe that we are legislating for common sense here. That is a shame because it really should not be necessary. But it has reached a point where we feel that this step does need to be taken in order to provide that certainty that we believe the players in the industry deserve, and the licence holders, because the last two years do speak for themselves. Businesses have been telling the Greens that this amendment is needed.
The amendment will require that pubs, clubs and all other forms of licensed venues be given a minimum of three months notice if the government plan to change their annual licence fee. Currently the administrative practice of government, as I said, is to require annual fees to be paid by 1 December. Our amendment would therefore require the minister to release any new or revised annual fees by 1 September at the latest.
On a related point, I should reference the fact that businesses in this industry find it somewhat unhelpful that their annual fees are due at the start of summer and in the festive season, the exact time of year when they are both very busy and it is an important time of year for them in terms of, I guess, their annual income.
So I would encourage the government to investigate this issue and talk with the industry to see if a more suitable annual renewal time can be found. I guess that there are a range of other points in the year when the fees could be due. Given that November-December is such a busy time, coming up to the Christmas season and the summer season, I think that a better administrative arrangement can be found.
Importantly, our amendment caters for this eventuality by setting a flexible three-month requirement. If the administrative practice of the government changes to another date, the three-month requirement will simply move with it. In this way, the amendment is a simple but flexible one which business is asking for.
It is a short bill. I will keep my remarks on it short as well to match the simplicity of it, but I think it is one of those changes that this place can make that will have a real effect on the ground to simply make life that little bit easier for a range of small businesses across this city. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell) adjourned to the next sitting.
Planning and Development (Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets) Amendment Bill 2012—exposure draft
Papers and statement by member
MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo), by leave: I present the following papers:
Planning and Development (Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets) Amendment Bill 2012—