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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2021) . . Page.. 1815 ..


In its wisdom, the Labor-Greens government is closing the Parkwood facility in west Belconnen, and the closure is imminent. This free garden waste facility has been operating for more than three decades. I remember going there when I was a child. My grandfather loved it. Tens of thousands of Canberrans have visited this site to get their much-needed supplies and drop off green waste. Hundreds of small businesses—and we are thinking here of landscapers, plumbers, gardeners and labourers—rely on the Parkwood operation.

Recently, the business minister spoke to the Assembly about her government’s Better Regulation Taskforce, which, she said, had the key task of talking to business about how to talk business. I wonder whether the minster, her cabinet colleagues or the task force have taken their own advice by talking to landscaping businesses in the north of Canberra.

One tradie that the Canberra Liberals have spoken to reported that he had recently been working on a site in Florey. He revealed that the closure of the Parkwood facility would mean, for him, a 30-minute round trip to Mitchell, simply to get one load of supplies. What is important to note is that, like many others, he needs to make four of those trips every day. So what does that mean? It means that the effect on this tradie, like others, is to lose a trailer-load of productivity every single day, plus labour costs, plus fuel costs, which, added together, would amount to two hours per day of downtime, lost productivity and so on.

The minister for city services told the Assembly that his government was undertaking a review of the waste facilities and future provision for the north side of Canberra. Where does this leave Canberra small businesses, which need certainty from government and clear rules and direction? When will businesses know if they have to factor lengthier trips and lost productivity into their quotes?

The Canberra Liberals understand small business, which is why my colleague Peter Cain has organised a petition against the closure of Canberra Sand and Gravel, which has collected more than 2,000 signatures. That is such an impressive achievement.

The government’s kneejerk reaction to the Canberra Liberals’ petition is to keep the enterprise open on a month by month basis, which does nothing for small business except create uncertainty and more confusion. As Mr Cain mentioned, rattling off alternatives that businesses know about, such as Mitchell and Mugga Lane, does not provide solace for small business.

Canberrans are fed up with having to resort to activism to get any sense, any sound direction and any sound decision-making from this government. But the Canberra Liberals will stand with the businesses, solidly backing their efforts to fight for an important facility that they need to rely on. It is not just about residents maintaining their gardens and green spaces; it is about small businesses, which need government support, not opposition.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (10.19): I rise to speak on the petition in


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