From the Commissioner – October 2023

Dom, Margaret, Childers

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I blinked and we are now suddenly at the end of the year. In early September we released our first data report, ‘Queensland Small Business Outlook – Beyond the pandemic’ – the first of many to come.
The report highlights key growth locations in Queensland, ratios that can be used to benchmark performance against other businesses in your industry, and insights into the six largest/highest-growth industries in Queensland. The report also examines household spending, small business survival, and profitability throughout the pandemic and beyond. 

We also launched our refreshed Small Business Industry Roundtable, new Regional Roundtable, and our new Landlord Roundtable. These groups have been incredibly generous with their time and their insights, which will be used to inform our advocacy and assistance work.  We discussed everything from insurance, childcare, industrial relations reforms, taxation, digital and financial literacy, fuel, and freight.

We have also been out and about in ChildersHervey BayTiaro, and Maryborough, meeting with small businesses, and down to Melbourne for the Small Business Association of Australia’s conference. Everywhere we go, we hear and see businesses working hard to improve their efficiencies and productivity as well as working hard to find workers. You may or may not be aware, there are currently Industry Workforce Advisors across Queensland who are easy to access (no application) and who can connect you to subsidies and employees that are relevant to your industry. 

On our recent visit to Hervey Bay, we had the pleasure of touring the “Job Ready” program, which helps participants get ‘job ready’ and then maintain a job. These individuals may never have had a job, have struggled to find employment or speak English as a second language. This program has an 85% success rate and is changing lives. If you are looking for employees, it is possible to strike gold in unexpected places.

We understand that small businesses desperately need relief when it comes to cost of living pressures, so we were very pleased to hear about the Queensland Business Energy Savings and Transformation Program. I was speaking to a grocery store owner in Childers recently who told me he was able to reduce his electricity costs by $2,500 a month simply by upgrading his fridges. If electricity costs are biting, this program offers incentives which might help.

To celebrate Indigenous Business Month this month, I will be talking small business matters with Kantesha Takai and Tracey and Travis Harbour. I hope you can register for either of these sessions. Based on Thursday Island, Kantesha established Lola Digital, a unique creative agency harnessing local talents and crafting custom marketing strategies for local and national clients. 

Tracey and Travis Harbour established Jibija Ung-gwee to fill a gap in Winton’s outback tourism market and provide short-term mentoring and employment opportunities for First Nations people. Their vision is to create a sustainable outback business that provides an opportunity for those wanting to engage with Aboriginal people and learn more about their history and culture. Recently they delivered a 6-day camp covering 1500km giving two different groups of secondary students a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
In late November, we will travel to Cairns to attend Destination IQ and Destination Q. Destination IQ will consider the year that was and the future of First Nations tourism while Destination Q brings government and industry leaders together to discuss key issues and priorities to ensure Queensland remains competitive as a destination.

Our Assistance team continues to upskill their dispute resolution theory and client care capabilities. Our staff regularly participate in both the Queensland Governments Dispute Resolution and the National Small Business Commissioners Assistance Group communities of practice. The team has a 71% success rate for resolving leasing matters and business disputes, in an average of 33 days, and all for less than $200.

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 enquiry.

Photo: The Commissioner with Childers IGA store owner, Bruce Mahoney and Childers Chamber of Commerce President, Margaret Smith. 

Dominique Lamb 
Queensland Small Business Commissioner

For more details, read the QSBC newsletter October 2023