Legislative Council: Wednesday, November 15, 2023



Restaurant & Catering Australia

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. J.S. Lee:

That this council—

1. Notes that Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) is the peak industry body representing over 57,000 restaurants, cafes and catering businesses across Australia;

2. Congratulates R&CA on celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2022 and notes that it has been supporting and advocating on behalf of owners and operators within the hospitality industry since its establishment;

3. Acknowledges the social and economic contributions of South Australia's hospitality industry; and

4. Recognises the valuable work by R&CA Board and its Awards for Excellence program to give restaurants, cafes, and caterers well-deserved recognition for their hard work, exceptional food offerings and outstanding service in the industry.

(Continued from 1 June 2023.)

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (20:20): The Restaurant & Catering association has been a fierce advocate for the nation's restauranteurs for more than 100 years. The association represents our restaurants, cafes, catering businesses and function centres. These businesses make a significant contribution to South Australia's economy and lifestyle.

The economic contribution of the food and beverage services sector has bounced back from the COVID pandemic, with the industry's gross value 9 per cent higher in 2022 compared with June 2020 but we cannot discount the difficulties the industry is facing. Rising costs, interest rate increases, and chronic labour shortages are all having an impact on the hospitality sector's ability to do business. However, if we know one thing about the industry it is the sector's incredible resilience and positivity. To get through the difficult years of the COVID pandemic and to continue to thrive beyond that shows the grit and determination of the industry.

The Malinauskas government came into government with a strong commitment to support small and family businesses to grow and succeed. The government has launched South Australia's Small Business Strategy, which includes a set of 20 initiatives designed to help futureproof South Australia's small and family businesses. The Small Business Fundamentals Program will increase the skills, capability and capacity of small businesses and their workforces by 11 partner organisations. The Cyber Uplift Program is designed to help small businesses improve their cyber capabilities and resilience, and there will also be a Mental Health Wellbeing Program and a Small Business Sustainability Support Program.

I take this opportunity to thank the Hon. Jing Lee for this motion, and note that it is so important to take this opportunity to celebrate the association's achievements, because they really are significant, especially considering the challenges they have faced in recent years. I commend the motion.

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (20:22): I would like to thank the Hon. Reggie Martin for his great contribution in recognising Restaurant & Catering Australia as well as highlighting some of the challenges they have faced, but the industry has continued to demonstrate strong resilience. With those remarks, and with support from the government, I commend the motion.

Motion carried.