Labor-Greens Government must better support struggling Canberra businesses


The Canberra Liberals are calling on the Labor-Greens Government to provide more assistance to struggling small businesses still heavily impacted by COVID-19.

Canberra Liberals Leader Elizabeth Lee said the Omicron variant has resulted in businesses experiencing the crippling effects of a shadow lockdown.

“The economic recovery plan released by the Chief Minister last year relied on a ‘V-shape’ recovery and that has not happened,” said Ms Lee.

“Feedback from business is that patronage is still very low and many are making the decision to close the doors indefinitely.

“The latest CommSec State of the States report indicated that the ACT is the second worst performing economy in the nation, with the second highest level of unemployment at 4.5 per cent and recorded the second lowest retail spending in Australia.

“We have seen over the weekend NSW unveil a comprehensive support package to help businesses rebound from the COVID-19 Omicron wave because they know how important it is for small business to survive during this tough time.

“It is clear this ACT Labor-Greens Government has gone missing, leaving behind the many small businesses crying out for help. The Chief Minister must step up and provide the necessary support to ensure more of our small businesses do not close their doors for good.

Shadow Minister for Business Leanne Castley said the Small Business Hardship Scheme implemented by the Labor-Greens Government has done little to support those struggling the most.

“Many of Canberra’s small businesses, in particular those in the hospitality industry that rely on night-time patronage are doing it tough,” Ms Castley said.

“Some of these businesses have made the difficult decision to shut their doors and others have expressed the desperate situation they are in where they will be forced to do the same.

“A number of these businesses have contacted the business liaison team and they have advised that there is no further assistance planned by the ACT Government.

“This has, understandably created significant stress and uncertainty for these business owners who are currently being forced to make a difficult decision as to whether they can continue to keep their doors open.

“Businesses need consumer confidence to survive and understanding from the government but to this point the ACT Labor-Greens Government has very little understanding of what Canberra businesses need to survive and thrive,” Ms Castley concluded