Page 3004 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022

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is our business minister, when businesses are clearly crying out for help and business survival rates in Canberra are the worst in the country? Consider how Minister Cheyne responded when asked about this during estimates:

I think it is easy to look at survival rates for business exits as a negative, but we are very aware in the ACT of trying new things and having a go. That does not necessarily mean that every business will survive and it may well be that a business ends and that same proprietor begins another business soon after.

Not surprisingly, the business minister’s dismissive statement was rejected by Australian Hotels Association ACT General Manager Anthony Brierley and CEO of the Canberra Business Chamber Graham Catt and, I would also say, any business owner that has lost a business. How privileged must small business owners feel to hear the business minister saying that she does not expect businesses to survive—not every business—but that is okay because they can just start up another one the next day.

Graham Catt described the budget as underwhelming. Talking about the knowledge capital line item, he said that there was very little detail about how the initiatives would be delivered. Returning to my earlier point about the disproportionate investment in the public service, Mr Catt reminded the Canberra community that it is small business, not the public sector, that now provides 63 per cent of the territory’s jobs. Remarkable!

Before concluding, can I point out how frustrating it is that the government, in this budget, is condensing output class 3 to a single table. Previously, you could easily see government spending for business programs. Now it will be part of a big output class, along with tourism and events, sport and rec, arts, skills, and venues. It is confusing and unclear why the government is condensing these outputs, and it will certainly make it harder for the Canberra business community to understand how much is being spent on programs to support them.

The budget ignores business and their struggles, which is hardly surprising, given some of the Chief Minister’s comments about business during my time in the Assembly. The business minister is either complicit in this slap in the face for business or lacks the clout within cabinet to stand up for business owners and advocate for them. Either way, it is a grim budget for our courageous and hardworking business champions in the ACT.

MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (6.18): Can I, for the record—and I mean that pun absolutely—state how much I love those associated with managing our records! It is through such methodical, meticulous, industrious people that we know what we have done, what worked and what did not work and can learn and improve, going forward. All the glitz and glamour may go to those involved in delivering the latest program, but it is those who sift and sort through the voluminous corporate detritus who ensure that our corporate record or memory is retained. Without people like these, the ACT government would be doomed to repeat its mistakes again and again ad infinitum.

Digitising records is as laborious and boring as it gets, but the payoff for the territory is massive. The ability to electronically search documents, tag them, link them and

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