Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 May 2021) . . Page.. 1390 ..
We have ministerial advisory councils for women, multicultural communities, young people and the LGBTIQ+ community, but not for small business. Instead, Minister Cheyne has served up the Better Regulation Task Force, which is currently hard at work on a discovery phase to understand the world of small business and what makes it tick.
A quick read of Minister Cheyne’s ministerial statement this morning, on the Better Regulation Task Force, offers further proof that when it comes to small business, this government is way out of touch. Her statement tells us that “one of the task force’s first and most critical initiatives has been talking to business about how to talk to business”. After 20 years in power the Labor-Greens government is still working out how to talk to business, and has set up a task force to investigate this pressing matter.
Minister Cheyne also shared with us in her statement the key principles underpinning the Better Regulation Task Force. The first is that we know that everyone is busy; the second is that we recognise engagement is a two-way process; and the third is the principle that government is engaging directly with business owners. If Minister Cheyne wants to understand and support small business, she and Minister Steel could visit with me the businesses along Yerrabi Pond foreshore that are desperate for more parking to bring customers through their doors—the restaurants, cafes, hairdressing salons. There is no need for a task force or a discovery phase; just a walk along the strip and a chat with each business owner. It does not have to be complicated, even though this Labor-Greens government insists on making it so.
The issue of parking is so important because it concerns the livelihoods of small businesses. Businesses such as Curves Fitness and Thai Herb Restaurant have relocated from the area because of insufficient parking. Others have closed. Several cafes have shut-up shop. Minister Steel, the Canberra Liberals do not want any more businesses to be forced to relocate or shut because your government refuses to put in the parking you planned for eight years ago. Is that what your Labor-Greens government wants—small businesses to be forced to relocate or to shut their doors?
Eight years after your government planned for up to 28 parking spots for patrons, nothing has happened. Gungahlin businesses are still waiting. We must support those businesses. That is the government’s job. We do not want to lose any more businesses from the Yerrabi Pond foreshore because this government continues to sit on its hands with respect to parking that was planned for eight years ago. When is a priority issue not a priority issue? When this Labor-Greens government is on the case. Speaking about the Yerrabi Pond foreshore parking issue in 2013, Territory and Municipal Services boss Gary Byles labelled it a priority issue. But Mr Byles added that it was a priority issue among other priority issues.
As I have mentioned, the Labor government did the planning for up to 28 parking spots in the grassed median area of Nellie Hamilton Drive at Yerrabi Pond so customers could access businesses on the foreshore. The Standing Committee on Planning, Environment and Territory and Municipal Services discussed the issue at a 6 November 2013 meeting attended by the then Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Shane Rattenbury. They confirmed that a project had been designed for parking on the median strip and that there had been community consultation.