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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2309 ..

(c) the ACT’s labour market has remained resilient overall with many industry sectors still experiencing skills shortages;

(d) retail trade increased by 0.9 percent in May 2021, with the main contributors to the increase being food retailing, cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, and clothing, footwear and personal accessory, including to a record $79.5 million spend in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services;

(e) the ACT Government continually monitors key economic indicators and will consider additional or extended supports as the situation evolves; and

(f) the Chief Minister has written to the Commonwealth Treasurer and Tourism Minister requesting expansion of the COVID-19 Disaster Payment to include hospitality and tourism workers across Australia that have been adversely affected by lockdowns in other geographical locations;

(2) further notes that the ACT Government has provided a range of supports for hospitality venues, including:

(a) allowing on-licence venues to sell takeaway alcohol;

(b) waiving food business registration fees; and

(c) waiving fees for outdoor dining permits fees; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to continue to work with industry stakeholders and the Commonwealth Government to increase support for hospitality and tourism businesses and workers across the country.”.

Throughout the pandemic, the government has moved quickly to provide targeted support where it is needed and when it is needed. In doing so, we work closely with industry, we pay close attention to market and economic factors and we respond where it is needed. Indeed, the bulk of what Ms Castley has called for are things we have done or are already doing. It is pleasing to know she thinks they are good ideas! Examples of these initiatives include allowing on-licence venues to sell takeaway alcohol, waiving food business registration fees and waiving fees for outdoor dining permits. These were implemented quickly last year.

But we have made further announcements, including in the February budget. Food businesses which had prepaid their licence automatically had it extended for an additional 12 months, until end of March 2022. General licensees received an additional 12-month waiver until the end of June 2022.

Initially, last year from 25 March until 24 March this year, commercial liquor permits were issued to on-licensees with the application fee waived, which allowed for the takeaway sales and home delivery of liquor. In response to the Sydney lockdown and a bitterly cold winter here, at the beginning of July this year we reintroduced that on-liquor licensees would be able to sell takeaway alcohol and to offer it for home delivery. To make it as easy as possible for businesses, permits were issued automatically for those that had taken up the same opportunity in 2020. Businesses that did not take up this opportunity last year and now wanted to were advised how they could contact Access Canberra to request it.

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