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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Friday, 23 April 2021) . . Page.. 1152 ..

MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (10.57): I support wholeheartedly Ms Castley’s motion, and I do so in three capacities—as shadow minister for jobs and workplace affairs, as member for Ginninderra, and also as a concerned citizen who wants to see Canberra’s businesses flourishing. The Labor-Green government should acknowledge the importance of the small business community much more strongly than it currently does. I think the establishment of a small business ministerial advisory council is a step in the right direction. Small businesses employ two-thirds of Canberra’s workforce and provide important economic opportunities for Canberrans from all walks of life.

In my own electorate I hear every day the needs and concerns of small businesses. I have spoken to and liaised with many, and I would like to give a special acknowledgement to those whom I know are looking to the government for stronger support—Bartleby’s Books, Herbert’s at Evatt, Fraser Grocer, Fraser Tavern, Capital Strata Management Services, Evatt PharmaSave pharmacy, Evatt Takeaway, In Skin Care Beauty Salon, and Page Tavern. And there are many more that have engaged with me looking for better outcomes. This Labor-Green government continues to neglect some of our city’s most important contributors.

In contrast, the Canberra Liberals understand the need for small businesses. We want them to succeed, and the vehicle at the moment is this terrific motion from Ms Castley. In closing, I ask: what is this government afraid of? Is it afraid of having a council to advise the Minister for Business and Better Regulation and other ministers in this government of the real needs of small business? Why doesn’t it want to hear more from the small business community in Canberra—a neglected part, sadly, of our community? I would like to thank Ms Castley for this motion and I wholeheartedly support it.

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) (10.59): I move:

Omit all words after “That this Assembly” and substitute:

“(1) notes the importance of Canberra’s 30,000 small businesses which contribute significantly to Canberra’s workforce;

(2) further notes that the ACT Government has:

(a) a range of ways it consults with the small business community to assist the Government in understanding the issues affecting small businesses and to implement policies that support the sector to grow, including face to face interactions; workshops; forums; regular meetings with associations and peak bodies; and a YourSay Panel;

(b) appointed a Minister for Business and Better Regulation to advocate and liaise with local businesses and improve the ease of doing business with government;

(c) appointed a Local Business Commissioner to provide advice to the Government on systemic issues facing the business community in the ACT as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic;

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