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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 11 November 2021) . . Page.. 3368 ..

until recently, persisting with onerous restrictions on how businesses could operate. Time and again, this Labor-Greens government fails to look after the businesses doing it tough.

Google mobility data shows that restaurants, cafes and shopping centres saw 40 per cent reductions in local traffic during lockdown, with the latest data showing that these businesses are still seeing 12 per cent lower traffic than normal.

This initiative alone will not solve the issues that businesses are facing after nine weeks of lockdown and ongoing restrictions, but it will encourage more groups of friends and colleagues to head out to our town centres, take in a movie and a meal, or share a cocktail and tapas at a bar or a club. And it will prompt more families to enjoy a special meal at one of Canberra’s fabulous restaurants.

The Canberra Liberals call on the government to adopt this initiative to drive economic growth, bring hospitality and retail jobs back to Canberra and, most importantly, show that Canberra’s political leaders genuinely have the backs of small business.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (3.50): I rise to move some amendments to Ms Castley’s motion and offer some reflections on her well-intentioned but misinformed suggestions. I move:

Omit all text after “That this Assembly”, substitute:

“(1) notes over 1800 establishments make up Canberra’s core night-time economy, employing 31 000 Canberrans and generating $3.35 billion in sales turnover in 2019-20 (Council of Capital City Lord Mayors 2021);

(2) further notes the ACT Government has supported businesses during the COVID 19 pandemic by:

(a) administering and co-funding the COVID-19 Business Support Grants, the largest grants program in ACT history which has so far provided over $280 million in grants to businesses in the ACT; putting in place commercial tenancy support measures; and providing a range of other support measures through fees, charges, and tax reductions, waivers and deferrals;

(b) establishing the Outdoor Activation Taskforce to assist local businesses seeking to expand outdoors using available public spaces, with 43 businesses already having taken up the opportunity to commence operation in expanded trading spaces;

(c) providing designated areas of free parking in the evenings and on weekends across the city and town centres to encourage Canberrans to visit these precincts;

(d) providing free parking after 12 pm on Saturdays and all day Sundays across a majority of ACT Government-owned carparks across the Territory;

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