Out and about in Pumicestone with Ross Konowalenko


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Make no mistake, our local small businesses are the ‘engine room’ for our economy. Last week I had a ‘Zoom’ meeting with Ms Amanda Rohan who is the PA to the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) which is the peak organisation for each local chamber of commerce group in Queensland of which there is a local chamber here on Bribie Island. Our meeting centred on what state government can do to support businesses to adopt sustainable practices for business growth and diversification, with the aim to then achieve a more eco-efficient, resilient and productive economy. Why? Because there are 445,830 small businesses in Queensland which as a whole contribute 113billion into the economy and employ 44% of the private sector workforce. If there is one glaring lesson that we here in Australia have learned from the COVID19 epidemic, is that as a nation, we need to be less reliant on products manufactured overseas and get our manufacturing and other processing industries up and running again.

It has been very evident while out and about talking to people, that they are now reading labels and supporting industries by buying products and produce that has been made or grown in Australia and Australian owned. Yes, some items may cost a little bit more, but consumers are now more reassured that what they are eating is safe having been grown and processed locally, that jobs are being kept and profits are staying here for future expansion and reinvestment. I shop on my own at the supermarket as I am a ‘label reader’ and have also researched on the internet which companies are Australian owned and select items for the trolley accordingly. During my campaign, I have also utilised local businesses for the majority of my requirements. On Monday 28 September I attended the Bribie Business Breakfast meeting held at the Bribie Island RSL and was very impressed with the number and variety of businesses represented. It allowed me to further extend my network within the local business community and can highly recommend the breakfast served by the RSL club staff – it was excellent as was the service. Another highlight of the breakfast was the presentation on business sales profiling presented by Charmaine Campbell. It was evident that the expertise Charmaine brought to the meeting gained over many years from her experience in developing high profile businesses both in Australia and overseas was well received by the audience who were also well represented by a wealth of local and international business experience. It is this depth of highly qualified and energetic expertise that is going to drive business development within our Pumicestone, to get our local economy powering along.

To make this happen, our state government needs to restructure the bonds between government and business to facilitate a business-friendly operating environment, by unlocking regulation and reform, investment incentives, and local procurement opportunities. A review of stamp duties, payroll taxes and land taxes will also help a business to rebuild post COVID19. Further savings can be made by having cheap and reliable energy available for business and households and the One Nation policy of building the Collinsville Power Station to power our state will achieve this objective. With sound infrastructure, reliable and cheap energy and incentives to attract businesses, Pumicestone will be open for business. Open to attract innovative and environmentally friendly businesses that can compete on both the national and international market place. As your representative in parliament, I along with fellow One Nation members will work with government agencies at all levels to ensure that the innovations currently being developed by the CSIRO, various university and other research centres, are funded and developed by Australian owned companies supported by local financial entities, to be produced locally to then provide local jobs and prosperity for our future generations.

Small business is in fact from the figures above, ‘big business’ and by supporting our local businesses, we are providing them with the incentive they need to thrive and expand, thereby creating more opportunities and optimism for us all. To each local business owner, you have my support and admiration for the hard work that you do to provide the services and products that we all need and for that, on behalf of our Pumicestone, I thank you. Which is why when Senator Malcolm Roberts visited Pumicestone recently, he stopped for lunch on the opening day of a local chicken takeaway, to provide his support to our newest local business which will, in turn, be providing employment opportunities for to up to 10 locals. One Nation supports small business.