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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2878 ..

completion of projects and, depending on the nature of the project and the level of the defect period, it is quite often the case that financial completion occurs in the fiscal year following the physical completion of a project.


MR DAVIS: My question is to the Minister for Business and Better Regulation. Minister, as the ACT Greens spokesperson for business, I have been engaging with a number of small Canberra businesses throughout the lockdown, particularly in my electorate of Brindabella, to better understand how the government can support them. A few businesses have raised concerns with me about the design and implementation of the government’s business support payments. Specifically, I understand that businesses who operate in multiple locations with different staff and different client bases but trade under one ABN would only be eligible for one payment. Can you confirm that that is the case?

MS CHEYNE: I thank Mr Davis for the question. The business supports program is, as we know, the largest grants program delivered in ACT government history. We have been able to provide funds to thousands of Canberra businesses during lockdown. It has been in a fifty-fifty funding partnership with the commonwealth government, with over $160 million paid to local businesses so far.

Importantly, the funding parameters, the thresholds and the eligibility requirements have been set as part of that agreement with the commonwealth. So it is right, Mr Davis, that a business owner can apply for one business support grant per ABN. This was a parameter that was one of the requirements. It is standard across the commonwealth’s agreements with other jurisdictions using similar fifty-fifty funded schemes, and it is a feature of the equivalent program in New South Wales.

We cannot speak for the commonwealth on why they have this standard requirement, but I can give some examples from our perspective of why it might make sense. The ABN is the only way for us to know that an entity is a separate business. Setting up the grants to allow for multiple grants per ABN would have significantly increased the complexity of administration and compliance. It is hard to see how we could have consistently and accurately verified distinct and separate business operations operating under the one ABN. We would have had to assess the eligibility, size and sector of each of the businesses operating under the sole ABN. It would have created complex questions regarding equity and appropriateness. For example, would a service provider that also retails products—a hair salon or a mechanic—be considered to be two separate businesses? (Time expired.)

MR DAVIS: Minister, that being the case, what other supports can the ACT government offer in addition to these cash payments to small businesses operating in multiple locations but under one ABN?

MS CHEYNE: I thank Mr Davis for the question. A business with one ABN that has multiple operations sounds like it may well be a larger business. It is important to note that an employing business, no matter its size, will receive at least $40,000 in business support payments. But if it is a larger business, it could be receiving up to $100,000,

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