Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Friday, 23 April 2021) . . Page.. 1158 ..
business; or the redeployment of my friend, the former member of this place, Mr Brendan Smyth, as the Local Business Commissioner and the work that he has done to broker and negotiate between landlords and small businesses as we recover from the pandemic; or the Better Regulation Taskforce, which I know is already providing much-needed advice to government; or the regular contributions made through the YourSay panel.
Like all of us in this place, I was really excited to see the government’s initiative in launching its ChooseCBR program to help small, medium and family sized businesses recover from the pandemic. It was a trial. Of course, the opposition has made some hay while the sun shines in pointing out some of the shortcomings with that trial. I trust it is their job to do that. But I am encouraged; I am a glass half full kind of person. I am optimistic and hopeful that the learnings that have come from that trial will inform the expanded rollout of the ChooseCBR program in the coming weeks and months, which will further support small, medium and family sized businesses throughout the ACT.
In fact, earlier this week I rose in this place to ask the Chief Minister about the social and economic benefits of Floriade. Given that Floriade will now recommence in its usual home in Commonwealth Park, I was concerned, as the Greens spokesperson for small business, that our suburbs and district shopping centres would no longer enjoy the social and, importantly, economic benefit that Floriade: Reimagined brought them. I am really excited to see the government has made the decision to continue with Floriade in the suburbs, attracting Canberrans from all around to get down to the Hyperdome and the Lanyon marketplace and to get up to the Gungahlin marketplace and see Floriade around their area—and hopefully grab a bite and a coffee too!
Throughout the election the Greens made a number of commitments to support small, medium and family sized businesses. In particular, I was quite excited about our $10 million commitment for interest-free seed funding loans to form cooperatives. No doubt small businesses will tell you, as they tell me, Madam Speaker, that one of the biggest burdens on small, medium and family sized businesses is the administrative burden of the paperwork, and sometimes the sense of isolation and loneliness that can come from being a microbusiness or macrobusiness, working in isolation from others and not being able to share resources or tools, or simply catch up over the water cooler in the morning. That is a really exciting opportunity the Greens took to the election to support cooperatives, where business people can work together, where business people can minimise expenses, share resources and build camaraderie and relationships within their suburbs.
In particular, the ACT Greens made a commitment, in resolving our spokesperson responsibilities after the election, to expand my remit to include the night-time economy. Particularly as a young person, Madam Speaker, can I tell you that I hear far too often—though I push back at the suggestion every time—that there is nothing fun to do in Canberra at night and it’s best to nick off to Sydney or Melbourne. I look forward to getting up in this chamber many times over the next 3½ years to promote the lively and exciting activity that is happening in the ACT in the evening and on the weekends. I will be excited to reflect on and comment on the rollout of the Amp It Up! program that the government has announced earlier this week to support