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Tuesday, 25 November 2003
Page: 22805

Mr DUTTON (9:14 PM) —It is great to see the Minister for Small Business and Tourism in the chamber tonight, because I want to discuss an issue that is very important to all Australians but in particular to the people of Dickson. I want to outline the achievements of two highly successful small businesses which are based in my electorate of Dickson. Both of them, while only employing around 18 staff, enjoy million-dollar turnovers and unrivalled growth. They have both succeeded thanks to their own initiative and in part, I think, because of the policies that this government has implemented to support small businesses in Australia.

The first Dickson success story is that of Skaines Reeves and Jones—or SRJ. The partners are Shaun Reeves and Steven Jones, with Mr Jim Skaines having recently retired from the business. The partners pride themselves on being very different from traditional accounting firms. While they offer traditional services such as management accounting, business development, taxation accounting, auditing and insurance services, they have set themselves apart by offering creative solutions for their clients to maximise profits, minimise tax and create wealth. SRJ employs 18 full-time staff and is based in the heart of my electorate at Strathpine. The company has grown rapidly in the past seven years and I understand that it has achieved revenue in the order of $2.4 million for the year 2002-03. Its revenue increased by a staggering 32 per cent during 2001-02, which is almost double the average growth achieved by BRW's top 100 accounting firms. It is a great success story.

But I want to inform the House tonight of a second Dickson success story in the area of small business. Aleis International is also a local company, and it has found success in another sector altogether. Aleis was started from nothing by John Finlayson, who was a cattleman in the Gulf Country for 30 years, and his wife Dorothy. The company sells e-tags and internal pellets that allow cattle to be easily identified and tracked. The innovative technology can be used as part of the National Livestock Identification Scheme to allow authorities to track the sale and movement of cattle and to act quickly in cases of disease outbreaks.

The company employs around 18 staff, many of whom are local people. While Aleis started from nothing, it has the enviable record of a turnover that has doubled every year. Between July 1998 and now, the company had a turnover of $7.5 million. It now supplies products to customers all over the world, including in Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Malaysia, Sweden, Vanuatu and Italy. The philosophy which the staff believe has made the company such a success is that John Finlayson insists upon every product that Aleis sells being of the highest quality. His aim, the staff tell me, is to develop and sell only products that work 100 per cent when they leave his company and continue to work at 100 per cent. John's resolve was recently rewarded when the company won the agribusiness category at the Premier of Queensland's Smart State Awards. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate John, Dorothy and their entire team on such a great achievement.

So why are there such great success stories across Australia and, as I have highlighted tonight, in Dickson? I think it has a lot to do with the great achievements for small business by this government. The Howard government's management of the economy has produced an environment that supports the growth of small businesses such as Aleis and SRJ. In particular, this government can be proud of the way that its sound economic management has resulted in historically low interest rates and continuing low inflation. It is important for small business to note the contrast: under Labor the interest bill on a typical $100,000 loan hit a massive $17,000 a year, or $1,416 per month, while under the Howard government the interest bill on the same $100,000 is about $6,000, or around $500 a month.

Sound management of the Australian economy allows businesspeople to get on with what they do best: running their businesses. To help small businesses to do this even better, our government has put in place a number of measures to simplify GST reporting and to support small business in a general sense. The government is committed to providing a range of resources to help small businesses to prosper. I congratulate the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, who is in the chamber tonight, for the continued support he has and for the support that he continues to show to all small businesses across Australia. (Time expired)