Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 11 November 2021) . . Page.. 3379 ..
turnover. If Ms Castley had a clue, she would realise that one medium-sized hospitality venue—not an entire sector—would have $3.35 million in sales turnover. The figure actually reported, as Minister Steel has corrected, is $3.35 billion. It is written in the report as “$3,352 million”.
So the turnover of these Canberra businesses across the sector and for our economy is greater, by a factor of a thousand, than what is in Ms Castley’s motion. Unfortunately, as I have said, it is what we have come to expect: lack of effort, if not lack of understanding. A lack of effort to even try to understand is true of Mr Cain. Instead, there is a wilful misinterpreting of things and pretending it is true. That is what those opposite have done in their characterisation of the Better Regulation Taskforce. It is what we have come to expect from the Canberra Liberals, and it was shameful to watch Mr Cain double-down on this approach in his speech, defending another rehashed preamble cobbled together on Monday morning before the deadline for the administration and procedure committee.
Ms Castley and Mr Cain—Mr Cain especially, given his speech—might also like to reflect on a key statistic in the report, where the ACT bucked the national trend. The ACT was the only area in Australia to experience an increase in core night-time employment of four per cent. Those are jobs. We bounced back in 2020 and we will bounce back again. The work that our government is doing is supporting businesses to take advantage of the opportunities the pandemic presents; to employ more Canberrans as we work towards 250,000 jobs by 2025; and to celebrate everything our city has to offer, including a vibrant sector which is excited to welcome back even more patrons from tomorrow. I invite those opposite to be more constructive, to stop talking down our economy. If they were serious about supporting our business sectors, instead of political point-scoring and talking it down they would be promoting our city. Promotion of what we have here brings more visitors, which brings more business, but instead all we hear is doom and gloom. Ms Castley’s motion is at best wilfully ignorant. At worst—and this is what I suspect—it is lazy. I commend Minister Steel’s amendments to the Assembly.
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.28): I would like to support Ms Castley’s motion and say a few words, most specifically, on parking in the CBD and also a bit about Canberra’s arts sector. The motion from Ms Castley calls on the ACT government to waive the cost of parking in non-peak times over our upcoming summer period, to help Canberrans get out and enjoy, most especially, the CBD area, and support the wonderful hospitality and retail venues that we have here in Canberra.
Given that the focus of this motion is on the night-time economy, I want to focus on that. We have the traditional migration to the coast coming up for many Canberrans, and some would talk about Canberra as being a ghost town during January. So we must do anything we can to encourage people to stick around. And if they are around, we must encourage them to go into the city and spend their money to keep businesses afloat, especially hospitality businesses. For up to two years Canberrans have done the hard yards with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government took strong action, and Canberrans behaved extraordinarily well in response. They followed the health directions. Generally speaking, they locked down and did everything right; and our amazing vaccination results are another example of the way that Canberrans have