The Palaszczuk Government’s $22.7 million Advancing Small Business Queensland Strategy 2016-2020 continues to deliver on its commitment to grow the sector and create jobs.
Small Business Minister Leeanne Enoch said the strategy – launched almost a year ago – is providing small businesses with the support they need to succeed.
“The Palaszczuk Government understands that by supporting small business, we are supporting economic growth across the state,” Ms Enoch said.
“Our economic plan is setting the right conditions for business growth after the disastrous cuts of the Newman-Nicholls Government.
“The LNP did nothing but slash jobs and services. As Treasurer, Tim Nicholls cut small business support, abolished the small business commissioner, cut online business services and oversaw funding cuts to the incredibly successful Mentoring for Growth program.
“The Palaszczuk Government on the other hand is expanding the Mentoring for Growth program. Since 1 July 2016, we have had 181 small business owners attend Mentoring for Growth panels – helping them meet challenges in their operations.
“Reputable surveys, analysis and hard data show the benefits of working cooperatively with small business to generate new investment, new opportunities and new jobs.
“We have seen our small business numbers grow from 406,000 to 414,000, and the Suncorp CCIQ Pulse Survey for the March 2017 quarter shows business confidence is at its highest since 2014, with business conditions perceived to be the best since 2009.
“We began implementing the Advancing Small Business Queensland Strategy on 1 July 2016, and this government supported it with an allocation of $22.7 million from the $420 million Advance Queensland budget.
“Through a range of initiatives and via the creation of the Office of Small Business, the strategy focuses on advocating, enabling and empowering small businesses to thrive.”
Ms Enoch said the Office of Small Business under the strategy has:
- Provided financial assistance to 324 small businesses through Accelerate Small Business, Small Business Entrepreneur and Small Business Digital grants programs.
- Hosted 41 workshops and events (including seven engagement activities, 12 events, 21 workshops and a webinar series) across Queensland.
- Produced a series of 15 podcasts where business owners from across the state chatted about their business journey and plans for future growth.
“We have a range of programs supporting small businesses, instead of hurting the sector as the LNP did,” Ms Enoch said.
“We are acting on recommendations provided by the Red Tape Reduction Advisory Council to reduce the regulatory burden for small business.
“Working in collaboration with all levels of government and with stakeholders, the Advancing Small Business Queensland Strategy is the pathway to creating jobs and sustainable small business that will contribute to regional growth and a strong Queensland economy.”
Employment and Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace also announced the Palaszczuk Government’s Back to Work program available in regional Queensland, will from July 1 be extended to employers who take on a long-term unemployed or a young unemployed jobseeker aged 15-24 years in the South East.
“This means employers will soon be eligible for payments of up to $20,000 for taking on a new worker in South East Queensland, which is a great incentive for businesses to hire a jobseeker,” Ms Grace said.
“WorkCover Queensland’s premium and benefits package for 2017-18 is also attractive for small business owners.
“Queensland employers will benefit from the certainty of maintaining lowest average premium rates in the country at $1.20, as well as an increase in the early payment discount from 3 per cent to 5 per cent.
“For small businesses with between five and 20 workers, this discount could deliver cost savings of more than $1,000 a year.
“Additionally, employers who contribute to skilling young Queenslanders can deduct the wages of each apprentice or trainee from their premium calculation for the life of the apprenticeship or traineeship.
“This measure would mean cost savings of up to $5,800 a year for small businesses that employ between five and 20 workers,” she said.
Ms Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government is providing small businesses devastated by Cyclone Debbie with grants under the $4 million Operation Queensland Recovery: State Recovery Plan 2017-19.
This initiative provides $1.5 million for small business grants, where eligible small businesses can apply for $10,000 grants of unmatched funding, that is in addition to Category C funding.
"The grants – which are open until June 28 - will be paid up front so businesses can quickly access the funds they need to help them recover and rebuild,” Ms Enoch said.
Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch