Page 2271 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2016

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Liquor licensing fees are certainly one of those big ones. Look at what a business in the ACT is paying currently, what the liquor reform white paper was proposing that sort of business pay under the government’s proposals, and compare that with the fees that are being paid across the border. For an off-premises licence—your local bottle shop through to some of the bigger wine and wholesale merchants based in the ACT—some of them would be paying, under the government’s proposal, in excess of $20,000 in licensing fees a year. Drive just a couple of kilometres down the road from, say, Fyshwick, where one of these businesses is located, across the border into Queanbeyan, and the same business would be paying a fraction over $500 per year—$20,000 in the ACT, $500 in New South Wales. This government is sending a clear price signal of the types of businesses it wants here, and it seems liquor and entertainment is one of those that it certainly does not want operating here in the ACT.

One of those rare things I do agree with Mr Rattenbury on is that nightlife in Canberra is a big part of a vibrant economy. I previously worked in hospitality. I have worked late nights, I have worked obscure shifts. Sometimes when you finish work at 2 o’clock in the morning you do want to catch up with a few friends, have a social drink, and there should be an opportunity to do that in Canberra.

I can only imagine the shock that passengers on these international flights that are heralded, once they start coming into Canberra, will experience. All my colleagues on this side of the chamber and I welcome international flights coming into Canberra. I have been to Singapore. I have seen the way that their economy works—the activity, the thrive, the hustle and bustle that exists in that city at 2 o’clock in the morning; God forbid that they arrive here in Canberra and realise that come 9 o’clock they are going to be wondering where they landed. Any government policy that restricts trade to the early hours of the night and restricts opportunities for businesses to trade at most hours of the day is only going to deter that international traffic.

It would also be remiss of me not to address some of the Chief Minister’s comments regarding lease variation charge. Those on this side of the chamber firmly believe that a suspension of lease variation charge in our town centres will not skew the market but send a clear price signal to industry of where we need and want development in this city. The town centres and the city CBD precincts are the right places for density. It does not belong in our suburbs, it does not belong in the tops of cul de sacs, which is the sort of development that we have largely been seeing under this regime. Builders are looking for the most effective and the most efficient place to build property and to increase density. Suspension of the lease variation charge sends a clear price signal of where that development should be fostered.

One other clear distinction that those on my side will bring to government and that we have not seen in the current government is that there will be no backroom deals around trams. There will be transparency. There will be no backdoor deals or backroom deals around casinos and poker machine movements. There will be transparency.

That is what the business community in this city wants more than anything, the confidence of knowing that the activities of the big government of the day are

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