Page 2610 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013

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This is a damaging set of figures and is of significant concern to the business sector. Tardiness such as this erodes confidence and breaks small businesses. The government is failing to lead by example and refuses to extend the same courtesy to the business community as it demands in return.

Failing to recommence approvals for credit accounts at ACT resource management centres for applicants who meet appropriate criteria will place increased pressure on not only the business highlighted by me today, but many other small businesses across the territory. If the government fails to reinstate this service it will highlight their ability to only pay lip-service to these important issues, but an absolute inability to take solid action when given the opportunity.

If it becomes too difficult to access services, I can only speculate in turn that this may result in an increase in illegal dumping within our community, simply because it is too hard to access tip services, an issue that Mr Rattenbury should be concerned about. I therefore urge all members of this Assembly to support the motion, and small business in doing so.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Ageing) (12.13): I actually thank Mr Wall for raising this issue today because I think it is a good opportunity to discuss this matter. I do believe that small and medium businesses are critical to the ACT economy and, of course, ensuring that these businesses are viable is essential. Certainly from the Greens’ perspective, over many years we have actively advocated the case of small business and medium business and see them as a real driver of the economy in the territory, in some cases actually often much more so than large business. Mr Wall has already taken the opportunity to reflect on Mr Barr’s views on this matter on behalf of the Labor Party and I think he has done that admirably.

Certainly a key number of small and medium businesses are vital in meeting the government’s recycling targets. The government has clear waste reduction and recycling targets but these cannot be achieved by government alone. The work on the ground is frequently done by Canberra residents, with their individual efforts, whether it is through using the recycling bin at home or making trips to the tip or down to the various recycling drop-off points in town centres and other places, but also it is supported by businesses which run the many and varied waste and recycling businesses in the city.

Fundamental to the viability of these businesses is the capability to maintain cash flow, which is equally important to both business and, I might say, government. In recent times, the ACT government has experienced increased levels of account delinquency through ACT NOWaste, resulting from businesses apparently managing their cash flow by creating large, unpaid and overdue accounts with the ACT government.

I would like to take the opportunity to clarify the situation here. Mr Wall has gone through in some detail a specific situation, but I think it is important that I also outline the broader context, because this motion makes it come across as though ACT

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