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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2305 ..


Business—COVID-19

MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (3.09): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) Canberra’s hospitality and night-time economy has suffered greatly due to severe lockdowns across the country, particularly in NSW, with some restaurants, bars and cafes closing and many others reporting a huge downturn in trade and revenue;

(b) the impact on hospitality workers who have lost jobs while others face job losses, reduced hours and continued uncertainty and anxiety; and

(c) the ACT’s job market is the weakest in the nation with unemployment surging in June to 4.9 percent from 3.6 percent in May, which ACT Treasury says represents 5900 people who have lost their jobs; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to introduce a hospitality support package for hospitality venues, in line with tourism industry support, including:

(a) an emergency cash grant for hospitality businesses which have suffered a 30 percent (or greater) downturn to help them cover operating costs;

(b) extending the full rebate on the water and sewerage fixed charge component of their Icon Water bills for the first two quarters of 2021-22 to hospitality venues;

(c) extending the waiver for outdoor dining permit fees until the end of 2022;

(d) extending the scheme to allow pubs, bars and restaurants to sell takeaway alcohol until the end of 2021;

(e) waiving food business registration fees until the end of 2022; and

(f) working with hospitality businesses on other support measures as the pandemic and restrictions continue.

Canberra’s hospitality sector is in dire financial straits. Our unemployment situation is also of enormous concern. The situation is bleak and the future looks bleaker. In the late June sitting week, in this chamber the Chief Minister was boasting about Canberra’s unemployment rate of 3.6 per cent, “the lowest in the country by a long way”. Seven weeks on, we are far from that. That is why I am here today—to move a motion calling on the Labor-Greens government to urgently introduce a hospitality support package for a sector that has suffered greatly due to severe lockdowns across the country, particularly in New South Wales. The sector is crying out for support.

On 26 July the Canberra Times carried a headline declaring that the ACT’s job market is “the weakest in the nation”, referring to the new CommSec report. The unemployment rate surged to 4.9 per cent in June and we now have the weakest job’s market in the nation.

We know that Canberra’s winter is always a difficult time for our hospitality sector, our restaurants, our bars and our cafes. We tend to rug up and stay indoors and


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