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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 14 May 2015) . . Page.. 1838 ..

That is just one example. I have heard this across Fyshwick from businesses that are in Barrier Street, Yallourn Street, Wollongong Street, Canberra Avenue—they are all experiencing the same unrealistic increases in the cost of doing business on a day-to-day basis. Many of them are now resorting to looking further afield to other areas where they might be able to set up their businesses to avoid paying such unrealistic rates and charges. Businesses that do not need a physical presence in the ACT are packing up shop and moving across the border to Queanbeyan. Our loss is Queanbeyan’s gain, and we see that time and again. That is disappointing for our economy and is simply not acceptable.

The budget the ACT Treasurer hands down next month needs to give an incentive to local established businesses as well as those looking to broaden their horizons by looking for new markets to venture into to make the ACT an attractive place to set up and do business from. If we are to diversify the economy effectively, if we are to remove our reliance on public service employment, the Treasurer needs to outline a clear path as to how the ACT is going to be a competitive place to do business compared with other places in our greater region.

There has been a lot of discussion about the region recently, and most of our regional partners are quite happy with the tax reform going on in the ACT because, as I said before, our loss is their gain, and good on them for capitalising on this. We are making decisions that are driving businesses out of town. They are happy to welcome them with open arms because they recognise the benefits not just in direct employment but the flow-on costs as professional services, professional fees and employment increase in their regions and districts.

I lay down the challenge to Andrew—have a go; be encouraging; be fair to business. Have a go at outlining a clear and decisive vision that will encourage business to invest and grow in this city as opposed to using a big stick and driving them out of town and out of business.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (4.32): I welcome the opportunity to speak this afternoon on the importance of supporting ACT small business. As we are all no doubt aware, small businesses represent a large and important part of our economy and our community. Over recent years the Abbott government has created significant impediments for our local business as they have had to operate within a local economy that has been subjected to savage cuts in employment and in commonwealth expenditure. That has undoubtedly flowed through to retail spending and consumer sentiment in the territory. There is no doubt that the federal government has contributed massively to difficulties for local small business.

It is ironic that today the Leader of the Opposition now wants to talk about the federal government’s role in supporting small business. They have been bludgeoned for a number of years by cut after cut after cut. This year they have stopped kicking us. We are battered and bruised by the side of the road, and this is apparently something to celebrate. The Liberal Party have been busy systematically destroying the customer

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