Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd hosted a Small Business Forum in Gladstone last week. Mr O'Dowd invited Shadow Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson to hear the concerns held by businesses owners in the region.

A spokesperson for Mr O'Dowd said valuable feedback had come from the forum.

Some main points were; 

  • Attendees were unaware of the extent to which Australian Companies are operating overseas, particularly in the resources sector in countries such as Indonesia, Mongolia and Africa. Indonesia is now arguably the biggest exporter of coal in the world, with as many as 170 companies operating in Mongolia and 250 in Africa.
  • Succession planning in small business featured heavily. It would appear that there is little incentive for the younger generation to enter into the family business. This becomes a significant issue, particularly when business owners are looking to retire.
  • There is a great deal of concern around Superannuation regulation. Changing the goalposts has made it harder for small businesses to understand what is required.
  • Red Tape was also raised. People would like to see a 'one stop shop' for approvals etc. Time is often a big issue in that respect and delays due to excessive and unnecessary paperwork etc are not only expensive, but are emotionally and physically draining.

Other issues raised included:

  • concerns over the impact of the Carbon Tax.
  • the decline of manufacturing in Australia.
  • Market abuse by 2 major supermarket chains controlling up to 80% of the retail market.
  • Liquidity issues - banks becoming increasingly unwilling to lend to small businesses.  

 

The spokesperson said the information would be put to good use by Mr O'Dowd and his collegues

"This information will be incredibly valuable to both Ken O'Dowd and Bruce Billson, as it enables them to better understand the issues facing small business. The information is vital in helping the Coalition formulate sound policy and serves to highlight areas of legislation that can be changed or amended to help businesses operate more efficiently and profitably," the spokesperson said.   

"The cross-section of businesses represented and the wide range views and opinions was a pleasant surprise. This has certainly strengthened Mr O'Dowd's resolve to hold more events such as this to continue to gain valuable feedback from the community."  


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