Page 2716 - Week 09 - Thursday, 8 August 2013
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.13): This bill will allow a variety of businesses across the ACT to purchase licences or pay for registrations for a three-year period when previously they could only do so for one year. The idea is that this will make life a bit easier for these businesses. They will not need to spend the additional time and cost every year on this extra administration.
It is a proposal that is welcomed by the business community. I made contact with the chamber of commerce. I was told that the chamber supported the changes and that this type of red tape reduction is a step in the right direction. Indeed, the recommendation came out of the Red Tape Reduction Panel that the government has been running. Several months ago before this bill was tabled I met with business representatives who independently raised with me the issue of licence renewals and the administrative burden they can cause. I will be pleased to let them know that this bill is being passed today.
As the explanatory statement points out, the registration or licence periods are not altered where there are public safety, health or other considerations that justify an annual assessment. This is a sensible approach. I hope that these things, minor as they are, will help support businesses in Canberra to get on with their business in a more efficient way. I believe that there are further changes in the pipeline as a result of ongoing work of the Red Tape Reduction Panel and I look forward to seeing those further proposals as they come forward. But for today the Greens will be supporting this bill.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (12.15): I am pleased to speak in support of the Justice and Community Safety Legislation (Red Tape Reduction No 1—Licence Periods) Amendment Bill 2013. The government is committed to creating a diverse and successful private sector and an environment in which local businesses can thrive and certainly generate employment in the city.
It is fantastic news that, based on the employment figures released by the ABS 45 minutes ago, we have an all-time record level of employment in the Australian Capital Territory; 211,600 people are in employment and our unemployment rate has now dropped to 3.6 per cent. It is the lowest in the country. Removing red tape and unnecessary burden on business is one way that we can continue this impressive jobs story.
This commitment from the government was an initiative of our business development strategy—growth, diversification and jobs—that I released in April of last year. As members may be aware, as part of that strategy I have convened a Red Tape Reduction Panel to identify regulations that impose unnecessary burdens, costs or disadvantages on business activity in the territory and also to recommend ways to remove and improve outdated and unworkable regulations.
The committee has representatives from across government and the Canberra business community, including the Council of Small Business, the ACT and Region Chamber