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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 May 2021) . . Page.. 1397 ..

As they say, the greatest force in politics is inertia. We see that often in the ACT with this tired old Labor-Greens government. I read Minister Steel’s amendment in despair. Should I be grateful that the minister acknowledges the history of the issue and that parking is needed and, in his minister’s words, “remains a challenge for business owners, some of whom have chosen to relocate”? Does it concern you, Minister Steel, that some businesses have relocated because your government has failed to provide the parking that was planned for eight years ago?

I heard members discuss active travel. That is all well and good during the day, but if you are a woman alone in the dark at Yerrabi Pond with no lighting and people are at restaurants so all the car parks are full, I would not want to be walking home at night just because the government has been unable to provide us with the parking we need.

I ask the question because the minister’s choice of words is important to note. Minister Steel refers to business owners who have chosen to relocate. These are the words of a minister who is out of touch with the reality of small business. The fact is that if dollars and customers are not coming in, if parking is insufficient and patrons go elsewhere and if the government refuses to provide the parking it planned for eight years ago, business owners reach the stage where you have no choice but to relocate. That is difficult to do; it costs a bunch of money to wait for leases, going broke in the process.

I suggest that it is Minister Steel and his ministerial colleagues who need a discovery phase for small business to discover what running a small business is like—the constant demands, the stress, the worries. Perhaps then this government would not be so out of touch. Minister Steel’s amendment clearly acknowledges that the parking problem still exists and still plagues local businesses. But just like back in 2013 and the eight years since, nothing will happen. Well, that is strictly not true—the government will continue consulting with the Gungahlin community. What that means in plain English is anybody’s guess.

While the government continues procrastinating with its task forces, consultations and discovery phases, the Liberals will keep raising important issues on behalf of our small business sector, which this government is blind to.

Question put:

That the amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 15

Noes 9

Mr Barr

Ms Orr

Mr Cain

Mr Parton

Mr Braddock

Dr Paterson

Ms Castley

Ms Burch

Mr Pettersson

Mr Hanson

Ms Cheyne

Mr Rattenbury

Mrs Jones

Ms Clay

Mr Steel

Mrs Kikkert

Ms Davidson

Ms Stephen-Smith

Ms Lawder

Mr Davis

Ms Vassarotti

Ms Lee

Mr Gentleman

Mr Milligan

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