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Tuesday, 21 September 1999
Page: 10127

Ms JANN McFARLANE (10:36 PM) —I stand today to acknowledge the efforts of successful small businesses in the Stirling electorate. The men and women who run these businesses provide the backbone of free enterprise and initiative in this country. The Stirling Business Association is an organisation that promotes business activity in the Stirling region. It provides free business advice and assistance and networking opportunities and acts as a representative body in lobbying all levels of government.

Every year the Stirling Business Association hosts business awards in the Stirling region—a region that also takes in parts of the neighbouring electorates of Curtin and Cowan. Recently I attended the 1999 Stirling Region BankWest/West Coast College Small Business Awards at Rendezvous Observation City in Scarborough. The awards have three categories of achievement which are related to the size of the businesses. The three categories are: businesses with less than five employees, businesses with less than 20 employees and businesses with less than 50 employees.

In the businesses with less than five employees category the following outstanding local businesses were chosen as finalists from a strong field of entrants: NetFX, Ovations, Edu-Tainment, Rosaflora Academy in Floristry and Austmag. The judges in this category faced a difficult choice as the standard of entrants was extremely high. The business that was eventually chosen as the winner was Austmag. Austmag is a small family business run by Bruce and Wendy Inglis. Austmag are importers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of all types of magnetic materials and products. The magnetic materials produced and sold by Austmag are used in a variety of applications. For example, many members of this House produce a fridge calendar each year to distribute to their electorates. The type of magnet used in these calendars is only one of the wide range of products the company produces. I would like to personally congratulate Bruce and Wendy on their achievement, and I wish them the best in their future business endeavours.

In the businesses with less than 20 employees category the following businesses were recognised as finalists: Right Marketing, Small Bins, SecureX Security and Networx Internet Access Providers. The finalists in this category covered a wide range of industries from a marketing company to an Internet service provider. The winner in this category was Networx Internet Access Providers. Networx was founded by Stephen Harley and Mike and Nick Crane in 1996. Networx is based in Balcatta, which is in the heart of my electorate. Networx offers a wide range of services, which include webpage development, web hosting, e-commerce solutions and consulting. Based on customer numbers, the company is one of the top 10 service providers in Western Australia and is growing rapidly. I would like to personally congratulate Stephen, Mike and Nick on the success of their business.

The information technology industry is a growth area of business in the electorate of Stirling. There are a number of successful ISPs in the local area. Many of these businesses contacted me earlier in the year regarding the negative effect of the Broadcasting Services Amendment (On-line Services) Bill 1999, which was debated in this House earlier in the year. I hope that the cost of complying with this flawed legislation does not stifle the extraordinary growth we have seen in this sector and in my electorate.

The final category in the awards was businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The businesses that were deemed by the judges to be worthy finalists in this category were: Harber Passmore Real Estate, Star Protection, Memo Communications and Omnitronics. The winner in this category was Omnitronics. David Nicholson, James Wilcox and Peter Lowe established Omnitronics in Western Australia in 1981. The company provides electronic design and manufacturing services and is an acknowledged leader in speciality electronic designs. Omnitronics is based in Osborne Park and has expanded its operations through offices in Queensland and Victoria. The company is fully accredited to ISO 9002. This accreditation is indicative of the company's commitment to providing quality products and services to their customers. The company, especially its General Manager, Jon Goudge, is to be congratulated on winning this prestigious award.

I am very proud to be a member of the Stirling Small Business Association not only because of its long commitment to the Stirling area but also because it remains a vital and forceful organisation today. This is in great part thanks to the work of Christine Evans, the Executive Officer of the Association, President John Denton and the Small Business Awards team of Richard Broad and Peter West. The awards, run in conjunction with the Stirling Business Enterprise Centre and its sponsors, provide a wonderful opportunity for this region to showcase its many dynamic and innovative businesses. I look forward to working alongside these people in my capacity as federal member to ensure the growth and continued success of this important backbone to our economy, the small business sector.