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Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Page: 2673

Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (22:06): I would like to speak tonight, importantly, about the 13,500 small businesses in the southern Adelaide region in my electorate. These businesses—small businesses but also micro-businesses—do play an essential part in our local economy and local employment.

They are in a variety of industries, from construction, agriculture, real estate, production of a range of food products or wine to a whole range of other services. These services and products are so critical to employment in our local community.

We need to acknowledge, though, that these small businesses need help at times. They need help at times with ideas, assistance or generation of information, or they may need information about the latest things going on. That is why the Southern Success Business Enterprise Centre has been so critical in providing a whole range of services to small and micro businesses in my local area, including low-cost practical business advice, counselling, referral and support. It is very important that this support is given to our local small businesses. I was very pleased that, since 2007, when I was a candidate, the Labor opposition pledged money to assist small business enterprise centres to help provide a whole lot of services to small business. I am very pleased that this support has continued with the recent announcement that the federal government will provide a $200,000 grant to the Southern Success Business Enterprise Centre. This announcement was widely welcomed by businesses and microbusinesses in my local area.

I will talk about what the Southern Success BEC has done recently. It has provided nearly 6,000 services to more than 2,000 clients since it began, whether that be mentoring or support services or just getting information out there. That has been critical and important. The general manager of the Southern Success BEC, Alan Edmond, said that he is thrilled to see that the hard work of this centre is recognised by the government and that the funding will enable them to continue to provide critical support for local business.

That is not the only service that is providing support to businesses in my electorate. One of the critical things giving support to businesses in my electorate, as we roll out the National Broadband Network, is connectivity to the rest of the world. Indeed, with the rollout and connection in Willunga as a test site, we see that local businesses are finding this critically important to allow them to expand their business. One of those businesses is Oz Feathers. This organisation makes handmade fabric feather banners—they are the ones that might be six metres tall that you see advertising a business or something on the side of the road. This is a very small business. The flags are used for businesses, community events or private use. Linda Sanders, the creative director of Oz Feathers, states that since they have been connected to the NBN they have been able to interact with interstate and international contacts. Their reputation has grown and orders have increased, with requests now coming in from customers all over the world. The NBN has ensured that this very small business operating from Willunga is on a level playing field around the world and is able to compete around the world. This has been critically important. We also heard some anecdotal evidence from Oz feathers about how, with their former internet connection, they would start to download a file, go away, make a cup of tea, have morning tea and then come back to it. Once again, the NBN has been critically important.

I believe that small and micro business are critically important to the southern suburbs of Adelaide. I am proud that this government is working to ensure that small business and microbusiness get the support they need now and into the future, both with the infrastructure and the services that they need.