Are you business friendly?

Posted: 1 December 2023

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I've had the pleasure of attending some really insightful and inspiring events over the last two weeks, such as the QLD State Development quarterly industry breakfast. Great event, thank you James Doyle and Amy Savage.

Connecting with our members at the Townsville Chamber of Commerce and Townsville Young Chamber Christmas drinks - possibly too much Xmas cheer but if there is no photographic evidence it didn’t happen!

Chamber hosted the Queensland Small Business Commissioner Dominique Lamb for a lunch at the recently renovated A Touch of Salt (you guys nailed it). And this week I am in Brisbane representing two cohorts of Queensland Connects. One for simulation in North Queensland and one with resilience and connectivity. Somewhere amongst this I was also a mum, wife, completed some income generating activity and got my appendix out! (No that’s the real reel!)

I truly value these opportunities to connect and the amazing people that make doing business in North Queensland so rewarding and I am proud in my own small way to contribute. So many positive initiatives and things to be positive about, yet to be honest I’ve been sad and frustrated too. There is mighty chasm between “innovation initiatives “and policy support for fundamental concepts of reducing costs and red tape that support small business at a policy level. This is crippling. I talked to the Small Business Commissioner on Friday about reduction of red tape and the need for councils that have committed to the Business-Friendly Council Charter to be transparent with metrics and outcomes rather than motherhood statements.

Last weekend Townsville Bulletin reported on the move of the traditional Christmas tree from flinders street central (I will no longer be calling it CBD), to the Strand. I will not go into the pros and cons of this, but not collaborating with city traders or the Chamber of Commerce was an interesting response. I appreciate there is no malice intended, but it doesn’t stop it being the wrong approach for a Business-Friendly Council.

There are way too many small businesses Queensland and Townsville struggling.

Are we missing in policy, grants and support levers at the basic foundations such as reasonable costs, lack of options for electricity, rising industrial relations costs, crime, and anti-social behaviour? Yes, I feel we are. As a business owner that has been really close several times to shutting the doors, I feel for businesses making challenging yet probably really sensible choices on closing businesses right now…… but there are no cool social media photo opportunities for this reality of regional business so maybe it just isn’t happening!

Social washing is a thing. We cannot forget the significance of small business to our economy in the push for building the region. Collectively small business employs 98% of all employees in Australia and contribute 1/3 of GDP.

Let’s not forget that.

Have a great weekend.
Miranda, President.