Canberra Business Chamber has welcomed the Better Regulation Report tabled in the Legislative Assembly today by Minister for Business and Better Regulation Tara Cheyne, and called on Chief Minister Andrew Barr to ensure a whole of government commitment to making the regulatory reform agenda a reality.

Chamber CEO Graham Catt said: “It is clear and very pleasing that the government has listened to local businesses, and we commend the Minister and the Better Regulation Taskforce on this report.”

“The Report recognises the feedback and frustration that we hear consistently from our members, including a need to focus on how regulation is implemented and a lack of business experience and understanding amongst regulators and the ACT public service generally.”

“Unfortunately, feedback from small local businesses is that when dealing with government many interactions seem to be based on mistrust and a misunderstanding of business realities rather than a desire to support the entrepreneurs who drive our city’s economic growth and create jobs,” Mr Catt said.

“For small business, one of the most significant statements in the report is the commitment to move from a ‘why should we help?’ mentality, to a ‘how we can help?’ culture,” said Mr Catt.

There are 31,500 businesses is the territory, and 97% of them are small or family enterprises employing less than 20 people. ACT businesses provide around 150,000 jobs, almost two thirds of Canberra’s total employment.

Mr Catt said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, and the key to recovery, growth, and employment. They aren’t big companies, but people who had a passion or a great idea, and took a risk to deliver goods and services to the rest of us. We need a ‘think small first’ approach so we have regulatory requirements based on their operating model, and not on compliance with rules and processes that were originally developed to regulate large corporations.”

“Right now, small businesses are struggling with massive cost increases, shortages of supplies, and the ongoing skills and labour shortage. At the local level we can make an enormous difference by fixing what might seem like small things, because lots of these small things add up to lots of time, cost, and sadly often impact people’s mental health and wellbeing.”

“If the ACT Government can effectively implement the reform agenda outlined in the report, it will make a real difference to the Canberra business community. For that to happen, there needs to be a whole of government commitment to making it easier to start up, grow and run and a business from every minister, every portfolio, and every directorate, led from the top by the Chief Minister.”

“The Chamber, our members and the Canberra business community all stand ready to help make this opportunity a reality,” said Mr Catt.

The Canberra Business Chamber’s submission to the Better Regulation Taskforce can be downloaded at https://www.canberrabusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Better-regulation-taskforce-submission.pdf

 

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