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Canberra Today 8°/12° | Wednesday, October 20, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

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Never a more important time to join the chamber

CEO Graham Catt… “We have been encouraging the government to speed up processing times for support-payment applications.”


WITH 30,858 private businesses that employ more than 62 per cent of jobs in the ACT, Canberra Business Chamber (CBC) CEO Graham Catt says it’s never been more important for Canberra businesses to be part of a strong business community.

“It’s been clear that since the lockdown on August 12, businesses across the ACT have been significantly impacted,” says Graham.

He says 9500 local businesses have applied for the government’s business-support payments and while many of these businesses have had to close during this time, even those who have been able to operate have had to deal with pressing concerns, such as supply chain or staff issues.

“We know from talking to businesses that they are looking for information at this time,” he says.

“They need to know how to manage their team, stand down staff or handle redundancies. There is also the ongoing issue of vaccination and how that impacts the workplace.”

Graham says the CBC has been working hard to develop timely information for its members about all the relevant issues such as support payments or changes in restrictions.

As a not-for-profit, membership-based organisation, Canberra Business Chamber has supported local businesses for 90 years.    

“Small businesses need someone in their corner, to give them a seat at the table and understand their concerns,” he says.

“Especially employing businesses need a partner to help navigate the complexities at the best of times, let alone right now.”

Advocacy is a big part of CBC’s work, especially at present. Graham says he meets with the government three times a week to receive updates, but also crucially to provide feedback from members and advocate on their behalf.

“We have been encouraging the government to speed up processing times for support-payment applications,” says Graham.

He says CBC played a key role in amending the lockdown rules to allow business operators to enter their business to fulfil online orders and this is one example of how immediate the chamber’s advocacy efforts are.   

Despite the challenges of the bushfires and covid, Graham says that in the 2019-2020 financial year, there was a growth of 800 new businesses in the ACT, led by a strong increase in micro and small-sized business.

“With the growth of the private sector as a whole, it is clear how critical small business is to the success of the territory,” says Graham.


Canberra Business Chamber is offering new members the first three months of annual membership for free. Small businesses signing up before October 15 will receive:

  • Access to the Employer Assist team for instant advice, templates, contracts and more.
  • Opportunities to promote their business to thousands of companies in the CBC network.
  • Regular updates on policy changes and other developments that impact business.
  • Networking opportunities with leaders and decision makers in the ACT government.
  • Complimentary or discounted tickets to Canberra’s premier business networking events.
  • Their voice heard by the ACT government and community through CBC’s advocacy.

More details, including terms and conditions at

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Ian Meikle, editor

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