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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2317 ..


I think it is best to look at a baseline year that was pre-COVID, and that is 2019. In that year, the turnover for this sector of industry was $866½ million, or $72.2 million a month or about $2.4 million a day, to give some context. In 2020, particularly during the lockdowns of April and May, that monthly turnover of about $70 million fell to $38 million and $47 million in April and May last year. It recovered as the year went on and reached nearly $75 million in December 2020. The year total turnover was $746 million, or $62.2 million a month. The impact of that two-month lockdown in that period that was the worst of the first wave, April and May, took an average of $10 million a month off the turnover of those businesses.

As we look to 2021, so far for the six months it is $446 million and an average monthly turnover of $74.4 million—so, in fact, more in the first six months of 2021 than the base year of 2019. To put it in a daily context, it was $2.4 million a day in 2019. It dropped to $2 million a day in 2020. It is now sitting at $2.5 million a day for the first six months of 2021. Now, it is my expectation, based upon the July data that I understand we will get at the end of August, that that number will reduce. I do not think, based on the current settings in the ACT—now that the month of July has indeed passed—that it will fall from the $77-odd million that was the June original data to $38 million. Clearly, if it did then that would undoubtedly trigger a very significant government support package, because that would be more than a 30 per cent turnover reduction in that industry sector.

Again, I note from the original motion that there appears to be agreement on 30 per cent or greater as a threshold. As we look at this particular sector, that clearly was crossed in terms of a reduction in turnover for April and May last year. But from the vantage point of the data for the first six months, we would need to see that number fall from the mid-70 million that it is now. I note that the May data was the highest ever month in the history of all record keeping. So the most money spent ever in the history of the ACT in restaurants, cafes and takeaways occurred in May this year. The equal second-highest monthly figure ever occurred in March this year and the third-highest monthly figure occurred in June. So three of the four highest trading months in the history of the ACT for this industry have occurred in the last six months.

What that tells me is that, in the absence of the capacity to spend money overseas or interstate, as a result of activity, people are spending it locally. That is a good sign. I have that in mind in the context of decision-making for future government support. I hope that gives people a sense of what will trigger an ACT government decision.

I also need to observe the shared responsibility as part of national cabinet agreements and what has occurred in terms of shared responsibility between the commonwealth and the state governments that have COVID disaster zones declared. There are a number of jurisdictions—the ACT, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and South Australia—now who are not in that disaster declaration who are experiencing impacts because the big three states have been either locked down or are in extensive lockdowns. This is the area that we are focusing on. It is not just the ACT calling for a more consistent approach. This is on the agenda for the Treasurers’ meeting this month. I have raised it twice in national cabinet, and the commonwealth have been moving on this issue. Aviation is a recent example. Just this week the commonwealth


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