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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2616 ..


lockdown and a beacon of hope for our city for the future. Many Canberrans were rightfully disappointed, frustrated and angry at what they heard—but, most importantly—what they did not hear from the Chief Minister.

The brutal reality is that the four-week lockdown extension is the nail in the coffin for many businesses, who will not recover from this. Countless businesses have told us point blank that they have been left behind by this government. What we were all expecting from this week’s road map was a pathway for the future—but it is, in fact, a road map to nothing. There was no plan, no clarity and no hope for a safe transition out of lockdown. There were the most minor of tweaks to current health directions, none of which will help Canberra businesses put food on the table, pay the bills or keep their staff employed.

Canberra businesses have done the right thing in supporting the health advice to keep our community safe, and each and every one of them has done their part in doing this at cost to their own mental health and wellbeing and their own financial security. It has had a huge toll on their family and staff. What we heard—or, more importantly, what we did not hear—earlier this week was a huge slap in the face to every Canberran that has been doing the right thing for our community, and it is clear that this Labor-Greens government is leaving behind our businesses.

This week I spoke to the Anderson family. John and Lyn gave life and soul to the high street in Gold Creek 29 years ago. When the pandemic first locked us down in early 2020, the Andersons took it upon themselves to give their tenants rent relief before any government support was even announced. As they were reeling from the significant impact restrictions that resulted in complete and utter decimation of their financial security, they were hit with rates notices and bills that see them facing a bleak future.

With so many of these tenants unable to trade during this lockdown, the Andersons are terrified about what the coming months will mean for them or the 30 family-owned businesses at Gold Creek. This is a heart-breaking situation for the Andersons, who one tenant described as the best landlords in the world and pleaded with me to do something for. John pleaded with me, “We can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and neither can most of these businesses.” Sadly, it appears the Andersons are not eligible for many of the business grants available, because of the way their operations are structured. Just as micro businesses that turn over less than $75,000 have little to no support, there are other business structures that are told they are not eligible for the much-needed support.

I got an email from another small business owner who employs 35 Canberrans across three sites. He completed all three business grant support submissions for their business on the very first day that the applications opened and completed a request for further information the same day it was requested. That was more than two weeks ago and he still has not received a single dollar while his business has lost 90 per cent of its revenue.

Each time in his daily press conferences that the Chief Minister is asked about the government support scheme and its delays, he talks about the need to make sure that


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