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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Friday, 23 April 2021) . . Page.. 1155 ..

As a result of this engagement we have been driving improvements to the government’s interactions with businesses to make them better, faster and simpler. And businesses, knowing that they can engage with me and my office, and the government more broadly, have had useful conversations and feedback on matters they are advocating and on ways we have been implementing policies which can support them. One example is that earlier this week I was thrilled to announce direct support for local live music venues, through the Amp it Up! fund, to help the industry recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and grow opportunities for local performance artists. This scheme came as a direct result of conversations I have had with a number of venue owners, with artists who are business owners themselves, as well as regular engagement with Music ACT. It is a clear demonstration that we, as a government, are listening to businesses.

In closing, I thank Ms Castley for bringing forward this motion. I appreciate her intention but I believe that we are already working in a way which is giving businesses a voice to government and which is ensuring they are being heard—and we are doing so in a way works for them. I very much look forward to continuing to engage with businesses in ways that suit them and are respectful of their time. I thank them for the way in which they have embraced this new ministerial portfolio, the way that we have been able to work together, and what we have been able to achieve so far. I look forward to continuing to actively, proactively and energetically engage as we work in partnership to grow employment to more than 250,000 jobs by 2025.

MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (11.08): Madam Speaker, I speak against Ms Cheyne’s amendment. I heard a most remarkable statement during her speech—that the establishment of a small business advisory council would be a burden on business, that we cannot possibly burden business with establishing a council to give them a voice to speak to government. That is one of the most remarkable statements I have heard this week in this Assembly. How dare we burden the community by giving them an opportunity to speak to government? This is nonsense. What about the other councils that advise the government? Is the government then planning to shut them all down because it is a burden to be on a council speaking to government? This is ludicrous.

I would invite Ms Cheyne, perhaps at another opportunity, to explain to the small business community why their having a voice to government is not necessary and we are so sorry about having to burden with them with establishing a council to speak to government. It makes no sense. This is not good governance; it is quite the opposite! It is atrocious governance.

Ms Castley has done her research, and what a surprise to realise that the small business community would like to have a voice to government. What a shocking thing to come to, what a conclusion. Who would have guessed with so many other advisory councils that I suspect actually enjoy having an opportunity to speak to government? Again, is the minister planning to shut them down because it is such a burden on them having that opportunity?

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