Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2308 ..
I have been in business and I know that smart businesses save for a rainy day. But this one has been the longest rainy day that we have seen. “It’s too tough,” a business owner said to me last week, “we’re hitting an emotional wall.” I know firsthand what it is like. You feel like you are drowning, like an elephant has just taken up residence on your chest. The thing we have to remember here is that it is not out of mismanagement or stupidity; it is this pandemic which has thrust it upon these hospitality businesses. They are doing well to stay afloat.
We know that the ChooseCBR trial and the scheme wasted taxpayers’ money. Fewer than 20 per cent of eligible businesses participated. The system crashed. We have heard it all. And the government is yet to reveal the full extent of the questionable transactions. The Labor-Greens government needs a plan for business—in this case, today, the hospitality sector. That is what business needs, a government that understands them, supports them and delivers a plan that will genuinely help businesses to get through the tough times ahead.
That is why the Canberra Liberals are calling on the government to immediately implement a hospitality support package to show the sector that government has their back, which is something we all question, as well as emergency cash grants, money straight into the bank accounts of our hospitality venues, to put towards the operating costs like power bills, rent, supplier bills.
The Canberra Liberals are also calling for:
(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.
The Labor-Greens government should do what it has been elected to do: provide support to our hardworking hospitality venues, our restaurants, cafes and bars, and genuinely give them a helping hand at a critical time of need.
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (3.20): I move the amendment circulated in my name:
Omit all words after “notes” (first occurring), substitute:
“(a) tourism exposed sections of Canberra’s hospitality and night-time economy has been impacted by severe lockdowns across the country, particularly in NSW;
(b) the impact on some hospitality workers in tourism exposed venues, such as the National Convention Centre, face reduced hours and continued uncertainty and anxiety;