2 June 2020

$6 million economic stimulus for Canberra's hospitality, hotel industries

| Dominic Giannini
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Cafes in Canberra

$6.2 million of additional support in rebates and foregone revenue has been announced by the ACT Government to help hospitality businesses and hotels reopen. Photo: Region Media.

The ACT Government has unveiled a $6.2 million stimulus package to help businesses in the hospitality and hotel industries. Measures will include further rate rebates, accredited infection control training and free permits for small cafes and restaurants.

Cafes and restaurants will receive a $1,000 rebate on their electricity bill for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year, while liquor licenses and permits can be extended to 12 months free of charge.

Annual liquor licence fees will also be waived for all on licensees and off licensees with gross liquor purchase values of under $3 million and existing licensees can opt to move to a more general licence for free until the end of the year.

Micro-producers who produce and sell up to $100,000 of liquor on their premises will receive a 90 per cent reduction in their fees for the first year of their off licence.

Rebates are also being given to hotels and serviced apartments for their water and sewerage fixed charges on Icon Water bills for the first two quarters of 2020-21.

For workers who deal with customers, a nationally recognised infection control training course will be available to help minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading as businesses start to reopen and gathering restrictions are loosened.

Over 3,800 frontline workers in the ACT will be eligible to complete the course before 5 June at a cost of $670,000 to the Government, which will be matched by the Commonwealth Government.

The ACT Government had previously committed $125,000 for infection control training, covering 475 students in the Territory.

Commercial property owners in the city centre and Braddon will also benefit from a new 50 per cent reduction in the City Centre Marketing and Improvement Levy in the next financial year.

Property owners are being urged to pass the savings on to their tenants by the ACT Government as the remaining 50 per cent will also be deferred by six months until February 2021.

The Minister for Business and Regulatory Services Gordon Ramsay says the new measures will help support small businesses reopen in the ACT after struggling to survive the pandemic.

Gordon Ramsay

Minister for Business and Regulatory Services Gordon Ramsay says the new measures will help small businesses reopen as restrictions begin to ease in the Territory. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

“We know it’s been difficult for local businesses to adapt to the new business environment and we want to support businesses to continue trading,” Mr Ramsay said.

“Many businesses have been able to adopt new models of business and we want to support them to continue this while we move forward from COVID and past it.

“This package of reforms provides support for those who are starting out small as well as restaurants and cafes that make up a strong part of our social fabric and who we want to be there for us well into the future,” he said.

Learn more about the economic recovery package. Businesses can also access a range of resources including a business resource kit and cleaning checklist for workplaces on the Safe Work Australia website.

A free 30-minute online training module for businesses is available on the Department of Health website, suitable for anyone wanting to understand infection control in any workplace setting.

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phillipbusinesscommunity12:24 pm 29 May 20

A small step in the right direction, but I fear that many of these “support” packages wont address the real pain points for Small Cafes. $1,000 is a drop in the ocean compared to what many actually need. I call on the ACT Government to actually speak with Small Business owner Groups.

At the end of the day, many businesses will not survive this. Just like in normal times, many businesses go broke. The Government can’t help all at the end of the day – and they’ve been (as a combined group – federal and state) pretty generous through a hell of a lot of this.

Compared to others, cafes have at least been able to stay open, which is more than can be said for many other businesses.

This government doesn’t seem to want to give out a widespread grants program – so in the absence of that, I’m not sure what else they are likely to do.

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