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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Friday, 23 April 2021) . . Page.. 1160 ..


business minister, Tara Cheyne, for not advocating for her Labor colleagues, including the Chief Minister, to see the sense and importance of this motion; and my disappointment in the Greens business spokesperson, the leader of the Greens, for not standing up to their bigger government partner and convincing them to back small business in a substantial way.

Unfortunately, I am not surprised that Minister Cheyne has not backed this motion. I believe it is a huge, wasted opportunity for small business—for our true experts in small business: the owners and the workers themselves—to have a direct say. Not being able to go to an advisory council is like being an aunt or uncle who often gets to babysit the kids and thinks that they understand what it takes to be a parent. You do not know the pressure of being a parent until you have been a parent awake at 3 am to feverish, vomiting kids.

I liken that to small business. Until you have dipped your toe in the water, understanding what it is like to not have a voice at a ministerial table is difficult. I would have hoped that this government would have supported our small business sector and given them the opportunity to say, “This is what it’s like to be the parent, to be the one running the small business.”

I cannot help but wonder whether the government and the minister are worried about giving small business a proper forum and a genuine body where they can vent, share and get off their chest all the issues that pound them each day. Does the government really want to know? I know that there are other forums. Mr Davis and Ms Cheyne mentioned them. There are too many. We want one advisory council instead of multiples. Make it simple and fast. The Labor-Greens government has made its priorities clear.

Let me look at the other ministerial advisory councils that the government has established: women, young people, multicultural groups, the LGBTIQ+ community. Don’t get me wrong; I heartily support and endorse these groups having a permanent say in government decision-making through their own ministerial advisory councils. It just speaks volumes about the low status of our overlooked small business sector for the Labor-Greens government.

It convinces me that only when that changes—the day Canberrans give the Canberra Liberals the honour of governing our amazing territory—will small business finally get the status and attention that it needs and deserves. Until then, as shadow business minister, I will continue to champion the needs of the small business workhorses that this territory too often forgets—not the tens of thousands of bureaucrats, who we do value and appreciate, but the other ones. We all know who they are—the ones we all turn to when things go pear-shaped at home, not to mention the ones we turn to for our morning caffeine hit.

I do not support the amendment.

Question put:

That the amendment be agreed to.


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