The second day of Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA)’s Vodafone National Small Business Summit saw Queensland’s Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business, Hon Leeanne Enoch MP, open proceedings. At the Summit she discussed how crucial small business is to the economy and as an employer.
The Vodafone National Small Business Summit saw Queensland’s Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business, Hon Leeanne Enoch MP, start the final day of the Summit.
Investing in small business means more jobs said Minister Enoch. “The Queensland Government want to help small business start, grow and employ to ensure we secure the next generation of leaders and small business owners,” she said.
Whilst addressing small business industry leaders, at Brisbane’s Hilton Hotel, the Minister expressed the importance of collaboration. Stating that it is vital to support small businesses, to fulfil their passion and drive a new generation of leaders and ideas that will put Queensland on the map.
Sadly missed from this year’s Summit, due to ‘doctor’s orders,’ was the voice of small business: CEO of COSBOA, Peter Strong. However, impossible to keep him away, he addressed the Summit by video, demonstrating that technology is vital to how businesses operate today, a key theme during the two-day event.
He provided a reflection on the Election, saying “it looks like Malcolm Turnbull will come back as Prime Minster and we’ll carry on in the same form, which small business is happy about.”
We were disappointed with the Australian Labor Party’s approach to small business, said Mr. Strong.
“We believe if the Labor party had have embraced small business, for example, supported the Effects Test and increased the threshold to $10 million to define a small business; there’s a good chance they would have been in power, because we would have supported them and not condemned them.”
Peter also pledged that he and COSBOA will continue to fight penalty rates, as the only people that suffer from this is small business people, as the unions have all struck deals, so big business does not have to pay.
Next, a session entitled Critical Business Infrastructure took place with Renee Garner,Head of Marketing Segments & Planning at Energy Australia, and Dan Lloyd, Chief Strategy Officer and Corporate Affairs Director at Vodafone Australia.
Kate Carnell, the Australian Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, at the Vodafone National Small Business Summit.
Ms. Garner knows from experience that small business people are spirited and the lines between family and business are always blurred, due her family running their own business as she was growing up.
During the session she outlined that small business people are so busy with running and building their businesses that they don’t always consider energy savings. However, in order for a business to operate successfully both reliability and sustainability in energy should be thought of as intricately linked.
When she asked the room if small businesses would be willing to pay three times more for sustainable energy, about 99% of people said no. Ms. Garner responded by saying the control that technology gives us, means we will in the future have on and off ability, wherever we are, leading to significant cost reductions.
Vodafone’s Dan Lloyd followed, saying that “Australia had one of the least competitive telecommunications industries in the world.” He discussed The Effects Test and the urgent need to continue the work to enact Section 46.
Mr Lloyd presented an overview of Vodafone’s infrastructure and how the business had overcome challenges, mainly the lack of competition in the market, which drives costs up.
Elizabeth Skirving from Rural Business Tasmania also added to the session. She said the impact on the ability to do business is compromised by disruption to transport, supply distribution and telecommunications.
She stressed because these three elements are vital to business operation, small business needs to take steps to protect themselves and have a crisis plan in place. For example, what does a coffee shop do if the water supply is obstructed?
Wrapping up the session she urged businesses to identify the local critical business structure and that way they’d be one step closer to protecting themselves should something happen. Unfortunately, she surrendered that many businesses do not do this until a situation has played out.
The remaining sessions of the day, before Independent Senator, Nick Xenophon wrapped up proceedings included an update from Dr Michael Schaper, ACCC, andKate Carnell, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.
Mr Schaper provided a regulator update to help small businesses understand its position and its activities.
Kate Carnell, the Australian Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, addressed delegates and took the opportunity to explain how the ombudsman will support small business.
The Ombudsman role, which she commenced in March 2016, is set be an independent advocate for small business. Ms Carnell promised to make life easier for small business people by addressing important issues like cutting red tape, making payment times shorter and providing support, which lets owners run their businesses better.
She then took part in panel sessions about how to work with small business, with the ATO and Institute of Certificate of Bookkeepers, and ‘how not to deal with small business,’ with the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA), using its experience with the road safety remuneration as a case study.
To find out more about COSBOA, visit: www.cosboa.org.au