Small business needs more help says Chamber president


Victoria Stone-Meadows


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Douglas Shire Chamber of Commerce President Liz Ross. Image: Newsport.

The Australian Fair Work Commission last week handed down the decision to increase the national minimum wage by three per cent to apply from 1 July.

The new minimum wage will be $740.80 per week or $19.49 per hour. This amounts to an increase of $21.60 per week to the weekly rate.

Douglas Shire Chamber of Commerce President, Liz Ross, said this rise has been a long time coming and paying workers this increase would be an overall benefit for this region.

“When in election mode, both sides of government were discussing the wage debate,” she said. 

“As a small employer, I understand that this may be difficult for some businesses. The last few months have not been easy. However, Small Business is the backbone of the Australian economy.

“It is not called Small Business just for namesake, it is because it is the local person, running a café, or hairdresser or some other business contributing to the local economy but more importantly contributing to the community in which it serves and on a much grander scale, paying workers so that everyone benefits.”

She said for small business to be able to cope with the rise in the minimum wage, everyone should pitch in and support local business.

“The fact is many Small Businesses are just that, they are very small. They can’t compete with large organisations or online,” Ms Ross said. 

“Small business needs support not only from the local community but with the imposition of so many rules, taxes and red tape; it makes one wonder, why do it at all?”

She also called on investments from all levels of government to help ease the burden of running a small business, particularly in a rural location such as Douglas Shire.

“We all need to realise the importance of having qualified staff locally, whether it be the Solicitor the Hairdresser or the Chemist, for example, they have vested time and expense to get where they are, they are contributing with their skills and knowledge,” she said.

“Look after them by supporting them. We don’t do enough for local business. We need to do more.” 

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