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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2889 ..

Budget—small business

MS CASTLEY: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, in your budget speech you said you wanted to support all Canberrans who most need support, yet there was nothing in the budget beyond the financial schemes we already know about for the tens of thousands of struggling small businesses earning under $75,000, and their families, not eligible for support. You also said that you want to protect every Canberra job, yet the September job vacancy data shows that we are the only jurisdiction to have fewer job ads now than pre-pandemic. Chief Minister, will you be extending the ACT mum and dad small business support?

MR BARR: Firstly, the single largest initiative in the budget—the current initiative in dollar terms—is the business support grants. There is no other initiative larger than those grants. For those who have a turnover under $75,000, the COVID disaster payments are the income support—the agreement with the commonwealth government, for the delivery of the COVID supports.

In relation to ongoing business support, our supports extend beyond 70 and 80 per cent vaccination levels. Commonwealth supports are cut off. They are progressively wound down in a matter of weeks at those levels. What I would like, Madam Speaker, is at least some policy consistency from the Liberal Party. When Josh Frydenberg says, “Our economy has bounced back strongly before once restrictions are eased and is well positioned to do so again, and the commonwealth will cease funding business support programs at 80 per cent full vaccination in line with the national plan to reopen”—

Mr Hanson: Madam Speaker, on a point of order—

MADAM SPEAKER: Resume your seat; there is a point of order.

Mr Hanson: I would ask whether you can rule on whether Mr Barr is in breach of standing order 118 and should not debate the subject to which a question refers. It sounds like he is entering a debate on the matter.

MADAM SPEAKER: The question was around business support and he is describing the allocation of business support in the scope in which it is applied.

Mr Hanson: On your ruling, he has talked about what he wanted to happen and a range of business supports that were not in the original question and he started debating that.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hanson. I do not believe he has. I have made my ruling. The time has expired.

MS CASTLEY: Chief Minister, what do you say to the small business owners, such as Natasha, Robert and Huni, all of whom have not received a cent and who told us last week that they do not know how they will survive? Do they not matter just as much as other Canberrans?

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