From the Commissioner – February 2024

The data is in and small business numbers are growing in Queensland, increasing by 9,793 (2.1%), since 30 June 2022. Queensland is now home to 482,836 small businesses, representing 19.2% of all Australian small businesses. When compared to 20.4% of Australia’s population living in Queensland, we are certainly demonstrating our value!

Other data worth noting includes employment:

  • 62% of Queensland small businesses have no employees
  • 28% have between one and four employees
  • 10% have between five and 19 employees.

The top 10 small business industries in Queensland are:

  • Construction (17.4%)
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services (12.5%)
  • Rental, hiring and real estate services (11.9%)
  • Agriculture, forestry, and fishing (8.6%)
  • Health care and social assistance (7.5%)
  • Transport, postal and warehousing (7.4%)
  • Retail trade (5.8%)
  • Other services (5.6%)
  • Administrative and support services (4.5%)
  • Financial and insurance services (4.2%).

It’s great to see that, along with our small business population growing, the number of Small Business Friendly (SBF) Program members is growing too. I’m excited to report that in late February, Barcaldine Regional Council became the 48th council to join the SBF Program, meaning 96% of the Queensland small business community is supported by the program. Welcome to the SBF family, Barcaldine!

During our visit to Barcaldine, we enjoyed learning about the council’s current initiatives and meeting with many of the region’s small business owners from a diverse range of industries. We also travelled to Longreach and Barcoo to meet with council representatives and small businesses in their areas. It was a great adventure getting to Barcoo and a true learning experience in avoiding livestock on the roads and getting bogged, and at one point I was chief herder and car pusher!

At the end of 2023, small businesses were regularly reporting concerns about finding staff, housing, and the general cost of doing business. Since then, there has been a distinct shift in small business concerns to the cost of electricity and insurance. We use the data and the feedback we get from our visits, assistance work, and stakeholders to raise awareness about the issues impacting the Queensland small business sector and to push for positive change. I’m pleased to inform you that QSBC has been appointed as a member of the Insurance Council of Australia’s business advisory council. We look forward to working with the Insurance Council and their members to provide better outcomes for small business.

We’re also working closely with the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland to assist small businesses to get better outcomes, as we’ve heard instances of electricity bills rising by 300% despite measures taken by the small business to reduce their power bills. We look forward to working with the Ombudsman and her team to explore these issues and ensure the experiences of small businesses are heard.

This month we attended our first National Small Business Commissioners meeting of 2024. Recent severe weather events and their impact on the small business community was top of the agenda. Each of the commissioners shared similar concerns regarding rising electricity and insurance costs across the country and we will now work to collectively advocate about these issues. If you have experiences that you wish to share with us about electricity and insurance, please get in touch.

I am also excited to report that the QSBC is a finalist in the Australian ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) Ombudsman and Commissions Group of the Year category. I’ll be attending the Awards ceremony with Peter Maddock, Director Assistance—wish us luck!

Coming up
I will be presenting at the following events:

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 on 1300 312 344 or submit an enquiry.

Photo: The Wellshot Hotel’s Tracy Hatch with Commissioner Dominique Lamb in Ilfracombe (the hub of the West), February 2024.

Dominique Lamb 
Queensland Small Business Commissioner

For more details, read the QSBC newsletter February 2024