Business of Minister
A HANDFUL of Port Douglas businesses had the chance to get in the ear of Federal Small Business Minister Brendan O’Connor last week.
Mr O’Connor met with the small business operators last Friday at a meeting convened by Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree chairman Gordon Wellham.
THE issue of paying foreign backpackers superannuation and the difficulty of obtaining finance were among the issues raised by Seabean café owners Henry and Lesley Johnston.
“Superannuation is a big burden on small business,” he said.
“Why should we pay superannuation to itinerant backpackers who after leaving the country leave it behind.
“We should not have to pay superannuation to these
if they don`t claim people it.”
He said it was almost impossible to get a loan to buy the business.
“We weren`t able to get finance because we were in Port Douglas and it was a restaurant,” he said.
“Fortunately Kim Kelly of Advance Cairns was able to prepare a business plan which spoke the language of bankers that got us over the line.”
Mr O’Connor said the meeting was good opportunity to hear about the challenges facing Australia’s small business sector.
“The Government understands that small businesses, particularly those in the tourism industry, have taken a beating as a result of the high Aussie dollar,” he said.
“That’s why we are working with individual busi- nesses to help them innovate and remain competitive through the Enterprise Connect program.
“We’ve based two business advisers in Cairns with a further adviser attached to the Remote Enterprise Centre working in the region.
“Together, Enterprise Connect has conducted 367 business reviews and provided 178 tailored advisory service grants to small and medium enterprises in regional North Queensland. Of these, 50 business reviews and 27 tailored advisory services grants were provided to tourism businesses.
“The advisory service program provided by Advance Cairns BEC has assisted 251 businesses.”
Small business owners can also get advice from the Small Business Support Line (SBSL) on 1800 77 7275.