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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 May 2021) . . Page.. 1349 ..

Throughout the pandemic, Canberra businesses faced many challenges. Over 10,000 jobs were lost in the ACT within weeks of the national lockdown. In mid-2020, almost 15,000 people were receiving JobSeeker payments, while around 10,700 ACT businesses had enrolled in the commonwealth JobKeeper package.

Businesses in the ACT have been asked to do a lot, and they have responded every time. They have been fundamental to our successful COVID-19 response and to our recovery. The government recognises that it is businesses who strengthen our economy, who did it so tough, who responded to our asks during the pandemic, and who are now leading us through the recovery.

The ACT government’s jobs and economic recovery plan released in August 2020 features a $4.9 billion commitment to protect and create secure local jobs. A key part of the next phase of our economic recovery is supporting a smooth transition from public support and stimulus measures to private sector-led growth.

The ACT government has committed to a bold agenda of regulatory reform to ensure that the ACT economy continues to rebound from COVID-19 and grow. As a jurisdiction, we have a strong record of removing unnecessary red tape affecting ACT

businesses. Over the last few years, the government has focused its work on some key reforms.

Firstly, the introduction of legislative and systems changes to support the property sector and consumers by providing for electronic conveyancing. E-conveyancing means that manual transactions for land transfers will be done electronically, saving time, increasing transaction security and allowing for new services and operators to enter the market.

Secondly, the removal of duplication in regulation and reporting requirements for charities and associations.

Thirdly, the removal of requirements to use outdated communication methods, to encourage the use of digital tools. This involves switching government business communications to the online world, achieving greater efficiencies for business.

Finally, leading Australia, the ACT regulated on-demand transport industries including rideshare like Uber. This innovative regulatory leadership provided best practice guidance to other Australian jurisdictions on how to achieve an economic and regulatory balance between taxis and rideshare.

The next step in this work is the creation of the Better Regulation Taskforce, reporting to me as Minister for Business and Better Regulation. The task force has been established to support immediate business recovery in the short term through addressing issues, while also delivering reforms for long-term economic growth. The task force’s job is to make the interaction between government and business better, faster and simpler.

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