From the Commissioner – February 2023

Dominique Lamb, Small Business Commissioner

Thank you for the warm reception we have received in the regions this month – meeting businesses, councils, chambers, and industry bodies.

Our advocacy relies so much upon what we hear on calls to our Assistance line and the data collection efforts driven by different agencies across Queensland. Without this information, we cannot advocate for change or improvements for small businesses across Queensland and I cannot stress enough – how important your stories and your voices are.

You told us that your demand and profitability were improving but that your biggest problem was hiring and retaining staff. You raised your concerns about the increasing costs and challenges associated with wages and workforce planning. 

This month, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland released their Pulse survey results for December 2022. The survey reflected the views we have been hearing on the ground and shows a divergence between business confidence and steady business performance. 

Approximately 37 percent of Queensland businesses have seen their sales and revenue improve. Yet, businesses overall are reporting that costs continue to hinder their profitability which is what we have discussed with small business owners on our travels. 

To provide further support with workforce planning, the Queensland Government has just announced a free workforce planning course for business owners and managers. This is a valuable opportunity for you to work smarter, and to recruit and develop the workers required NOW. 

We have seen a 60 percent increase in call volumes to our Assistance line. Most calls have been enquiries or disputes associated with ‘options’ within a lease. Many callers were not familiar with the meaning of an ‘option’ or were seeking more information. You might find this new QSBC factsheet helpful – Option to renew a lease.
To advocate for small business at a federal level within a Queensland context, I met with Mr. Bruce Billson – the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman. We discussed federal issues impacting small businesses including the cost of labour, insurance, and taxation. 

If you are experiencing any issues relating to federal matters or have any suggestions about how the federal government or its agencies could streamline their interactions with small businesses, please get in touch. I will be attending my first National Small Business Commissioner’s Meeting chaired by Mr. Billson on 7 March. This is a fantastic opportunity for your voice to be heard at a federal level. 

If you are new to our newsletter or would like to learn more about our services, resources, initiatives, and projects, visit the QSBC website. If you are ever unsure and are looking for more information, give us a call at 1300 312 344 or submit an inquiry

Dominique Lamb 
Queensland Small Business Commissioner

For more details, read the QSBC newsletter February 2023