17 June 2020
ACT Government and Canberra business must work together
Canberra Business Chamber has welcomed the ACT Government’s announcement today of a rate freeze for Canberra households and businesses.
However, the Chamber says there is more work to do on tax rates reform, and particularly the controversial commercial rates regime, which are leading to higher rents and reduced property values across the ACT.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced the tax reforms and other initiatives at this morning’s Canberra Business Chamber “State of the Territory” Business Address for Chamber members, held virtually.
Chamber CEO, Graham Catt said “We welcome the additional financial support for Canberrans, and the potential for this to flow to local businesses and the ACT economy. Our members will however be looking for further reforms in this area.”
“Commercial rates, and the issue of rates reform is a key issue for our members. We have a real opportunity now for the business community to work with the ACT Government on reforms which will help business, create jobs, stimulate the economy and ensure a sustainable revenue base for the Territory in the long term”, said Mr Catt.
Canberra Business Chamber also supported the Chief Minister’s view that “considered investment” is needed now to provide economic stimulus but cautioned that, in the longer term, a return to a budget surplus is needed.
“The business community agrees that stimulus is needed now. However, we have learned from the impacts our economy has felt over recent months that we should expect the unexpected. We will need to rebuild our fiscal position in order to weather potential future storms”, said Mr Catt.
While the Chamber welcomes the ACT Government’s commitment to jobs for Canberrans, it believes that the private sector will need to lead the growth of jobs.
“Two thirds of Canberrans are employed by the ACT’s 30,000 plus businesses. Full employment is our goal, and reaching it will depend on business and small business – the engine room of our economy.”