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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2319 ..


The second point is that the figures that the Chief Minister referred to, especially the really good figures in May, were before the current New South Wales lockdown. The businesses that are coming to us seeking support are feeling the pain now. We want to make sure that we support them when they need it most. I think it was Mr Davis who encouraged Ms Castley to write to the federal Treasurer. Let me assure members in this place that we are in contact with our federal counterparts. I put on the record my thanks to the ACT Liberal senator, Zed Seselja, who has been absolutely doing his part to stick up for ACT businesses.

Whilst we do not have a lockdown and we have been fortunate enough not to have had a case for over a year, we know that we are impacted by the lockdowns in other states. I think we are all in agreement—the Chief Minister, as well as Senator Seselja, as well as us—that it does impact us. That is something that we will continue to fight for. I thank Ms Castley for bringing this motion. It is an important one and I thank her for her ongoing and continuous support and advocacy for our small businesses. Certainly, it is something that is required in this city.

MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (3.56): What we see with this amendment is simply the Labor-Greens government passing the buck. The government has acknowledged that Canberra’s hospitality sector does need assistance, yet its solution is to call on the commonwealth government to increase its support to our hospitality businesses and workers. Our Chief Minister and Treasurer thinks that it is enough for him to sign off on a couple of letters while completely shirking his responsibility for the ACT economy and the welfare of business and workers. I understand the deep dive with all of the facts and figures, but I would love to know which businesses the government has been out and spoken to personally.

You cannot on one hand acknowledge that hospitality businesses and workers have been adversely affected by lockdowns and then on the other hand say that it is for the federal government to offer support. The most we get from the business minister is: “I will consider additional or extended supports as the situation evolves.” It is not good enough. How bad does it need to be before the government realises, after the deep dive, that parts of the sector—I understand that it is parts of the sector—need help? That is why my motion is calling for 30 per cent of businesses who are struggling that can prove it—

Mr Barr: I think you mean a 30 per cent turnover reduction.

MS CASTLEY: A 30 per cent downturn; thank you.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Barr!

Ms Cheyne interjecting—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Ms Cheyne!

MS CASTLEY: It is not about a cash splash or a willy-nilly throwing out of funds to businesses that have misused money. They are desperately struggling as a result of the


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