Page 452 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

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MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (4.48): I thank Dr Paterson for moving this important motion today on behalf of the businesses in her electorate and, indeed, across the ACT.

As we have heard, the ACT leads the nation in taking action to combat climate change and reduce our emissions. We know fundamentally how supportive the Canberra community is of clear, practical steps which reduce our carbon footprint. Canberra businesses, large and small, are identifying and implementing changes to their operations which give them and us a competitive advantage. As consumers look to spend their dollars with businesses that are committed to sustainability, those businesses benefit—and, of course, our environment and our broader community benefit.

It goes without saying that the pandemic has presented enormous challenges for Canberra businesses. Even as we have reopened, business owners are more time-poor than ever and are now facing supply chain issues and the national problem of labour shortages.

As Dr Paterson’s motion highlights, a clear, authoritative carbon calculator for business in the ACT would help them to implement efficiency boosting changes. Helping businesses to cut their costs is beneficial and, when that is done in a way that also reduces their carbon footprint, of course, it is even better.

A central, authoritative calculator provides benefits without the burden; indeed, by providing clear guidance, it reduces existing burdens. Ways to further encourage businesses, in ways that benefit them and are easy, are also worthy of exploration, and I commend the inclusion of these suggestions.

I certainly note and support Ms Lee’s and Ms Clay’s comments before, that businesses need changes to be realistic, that businesses are at different stages, that the transition needs to be just and that the information and guidance need to be sensible and useful. I think the motion goes to that.

While our economic recovery is progressing well, we recognise the importance of maintaining the right environment for businesses to succeed and thrive, while encouraging behaviours that have the potential to provide serious benefits, including to businesses and the environment, and this motion strikes the right balance.

I would also like to remind members that the Canberra Business Advice and Support Service remains available, providing up to four hours of free specialist, tailored advice to businesses. Legal, financial, wellbeing and general advice is available through this ACT government funded program. It is delivered by the Canberra Business Enterprise Centre, and we thank them for their service. I thank and commend Dr Paterson for moving this important motion.

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