Standing up for Canberra

Small Business - Private Members' Business

I would like to acknowledge and thank the member for Mallee, who brought this motion to the House. This is a most important opportunity for members of this House to speak on the importance of small business nationally and the importance of how small business affects each member and their electorate. In my electorate of Wright, I have over 10,000 small businesses currently operating. The estimated turnover of all the small businesses in Wright is roughly $1 billion a year, making them the largest contributing sector to the gross regional product of my electorate.

I am very proud of the strength of the small business sector in Wright, and I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the recent achievements of some of those small businesses. Before I do that, I welcome the member for Moreton's support for the recent budget measures of the government. I know that those measures have been received extremely well throughout the small business sector right across the entire nation.

I have stood in this House and spoken of small businesses on many occasions. This morning I have the opportunity to speak about ScenicRim 4Real Milk, a business which is innovative in the most advanced of ways. It is a dairy herd, a local family owned operation, with full robotic dairies and a value adding process of bottling and distributing milk. The farmer, Greg Dennis, was recently awarded Dairy Farmer of the Year at the Kondinin Group-ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year awards and is doing an outstanding job locally. In the west of my electorate is Stark Engineering, which makes the Warwick Cattle Crush. Stark Engineering is an agricultural manufacturer in the Locker Valley which has already experienced the benefit of the government's small business package. Last month they employed an extra couple of staff in order to meet their demand on the back of putting an additional three staff on the month before. As a result of the budget's small business package and agricultural package, they are advertising for even more positions as we speak.

There is a small cafe over in the Mudgeeraba area. I recently hosted one of my regular mobile offices at the Two Little Bakers cafe in Mudgeeraba. This relatively new cafe is a labour of love from a mother and daughter duo, Kris and Ashley, who have always dreamed of running their own cafe and decorating operation. Since opening over a year ago, it has become a Gold Coast hot spot, receiving rave reviews in dozens of local food publications. I had the opportunity to go over to Mudgeeraba last week and I popped in to say 'hello' to Kris. I was delighted to have them tell me that they are going from strength to strength, posting back-to-back monthly profits. Isn't that a great news story for any small business?

Behind our small business sector is a very motivated chamber of commerce sector. I would like to quickly acknowledge the Mudgeeraba Chamber of Commerce and President John Forrester; Logan Country Chamber of Commerce and President Kelly Cousins; the Lockyer Chamber of Commerce and President Paul Emmerson; Tambourine Mountain Chamber of Commerce and President Tony Lambert; Kooralbyn Chamber of Commerce and Vice-President Barry Cook; Springbrook Chamber of Commerce and President Gail Geronimos; Beaudesert Chamber of Commerce and President Cheryl Worsick; and of course the Boona District Chamber of Commerce and President Matt Wright. To each of them, I acknowledge their contribution to small business in my area.

Finally, when I first became a member of the House, the member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, and I partnered to start the Parliamentary Friends of Small Business group. Prior to coming here, there was no Parliamentary Friends of Small Business group. However, with the help of Gai and others, we started this group and it is shining a light on some incredible small businesses around Australia, as well as offering support to new businesses.

In relation to the small business package that we have rolled out, 96 per cent of all Australian businesses are small businesses. They produce over $330 billion of our nation's economic input per year and employ over four and a half million people, which accounts for almost 43 per cent of non-financial private sector jobs in our country. There is no doubt that small business is at the forefront of Australian jobs and growth. It is the engine room of Australia. The new $5.5 billion jobs and small business package is the biggest small business package in our nation's history. I welcome the support from those on the other side of the House for this legislation and trust that it will have clear sailing through the Senate so that our small businesses can be the recipients of some great legislation.

Download a copy of this speech.