Page 614 - Week 02 - Thursday, 14 February 2013

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The second tranche of reforms, which are already underway, are focused on streamlining the approvals and licensing processes for outdoor dining areas throughout the city. The intent of this reform is to make it easier for business owners to utilise outdoor space and to stimulate the cosmopolitan transformation of the city. It will review the assessment and approval processes for outdoor dining areas and strip away the unnecessary considerations that complicate this process.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, what input has the business community contributed to this project?

MR BARR: It has been a significant contribution. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of representatives from the Council of Small Business Australia, the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Canberra Business Council. Businesses and individuals who are members of those particular organisations have had the opportunity, through targeted industry forums, to provide information and concerns through their representatives who sit on the red tape reduction panel. I understand that Mr Gentleman, in his role with the MTA prior to being re-elected to the Assembly, was in fact involved in a number of those discussions. That feedback has been invaluable in informing the panel of areas of priority.

We have also established the fix my red tape online portal, which is a variation of the fix my street portal that is available. It is now a one-stop shop for the business community and Canberrans at large to identify any red tape that affects or impedes their ability to do business in the territory. This feedback will alert the government to any unnecessary burdens, costs or disadvantages to business activity in the territory and provides a very practical mechanism for the business community to recommend ways to remove and improve outdated, unworkable and illogical regulation. Feedback received through the fix my red tape portal will inform the work program of the red tape reduction panel.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, in regard to the illogical, outdated and unworkable legislation that you have just mentioned, has the government reviewed the lease variation charge since its passing, and will you release such a review or will you continue, in the words of Mr Quinlan, who is with us here today, to “squeeze them till they bleed but not until they die”?

MR BARR: I again thank the shadow treasurer for reminding us that he is still in this place, and I tip my hat to the former treasurer who sits up in the gallery.

The important point to note here is that the economic principles that underpin the lease variation charge are entirely valid and, I understand, even accepted now by those opposite, who went to the last election with acceptance of the LVC as part of the tax

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