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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9209

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (21:50): I rise to congratulate four small businesses within my North Sydney electorate for their achievement in being named finalists in the 2012 Australian Telstra Business Awards. Telstra has been acknowledging successful business entrepreneurs and innovators across the country since 1992 in the form of these awards. When I was minister for small business I was pleased to attend those awards. For small and medium businesses they are prestigious and much coveted and they provide appropriate recognition for hard work and success. As shadow Treasurer, I value the significant role that small and medium enterprises play in building our strong economy. It is therefore particularly heartening to know that these four businesses have now been recognised.

North Sydney's development has been shaped in no small measure by a broad cross-section of interesting, vibrant and quite different residential areas, including thriving business hubs of North Sydney itself, St Leonards, Artarmon, Chatswood and of course Lane Cove. So it is gratifying to see a real cross-section of finalists from my electorate.

To be a finalist for the award is an achievement in itself, with a judging process that involves site visits, management interviews, company presentations and submission of documents to the judging panel. It was 'a great opportunity' as one recipient acknowledged 'to benchmark the company's business planning, customer engagement, marketing strategies and financial performance'. So it pleases me to acknowledge in parliament these small business innovators.

The finalists from my electorate included enLighten Australia based in Artarmon. Driven by a belief that the developed world wastes too much energy on lighting, inventor David Whitfield formed enLighten Australia in 2008. His vision was to design and supply high-efficiency, intelligent lighting systems. His company has developed a new generation of occupancy-sensing technology. When combined with its patented LED lighting technology, the company's solution achieves electricity savings of up to 90 per cent. That has got to be a good thing.

Kilimanjaro Consulting—I well recall climbing that mountain but I never knew there was a consulting business named after it!—from North Sydney is one of Australia's largest and most experienced implementers of MYOB's enterprise-level business management, accounting and payroll software, MYOB EXO Business. Kilimanjaro brings its skills in management, accounting, software and business process improvement together to help clients choose the right solution to manage and grow their businesses.

Invisalign Australia from St Leonards operates as a distributor of orthodontic treatment products. Invisalign's system uses a series of removable aligners to straighten teeth, without metal or wires. How about that! The company serves orthodontists and dentists in Australia and North America, a great example of Australian technology taking on the world. I note that the Leader of the Opposition's father was an orthodontist—

Mr Tehan: He straightened your teeth!

Mr HOCKEY: who straightened my teeth. As the Leader of the Opposition's mother said, written on her husband's gravestone will be: 'Changed the face of the North Shore!'

The fourth company is Booktopia, a 100 per cent Australian owned online-only retail store selling books and DVDs all over the world. Based in Lane Cove, it offers over four million books from its subject-categorised database. As well as physical books, Booktopia partners with Google to offer Australian readers thousands of Google eBooks from a variety of international and local publishers.

It is exciting to realise that these four businesses were chosen partly because of their innovative use of communication technology. In selecting the finalists, Telstra made the observation that all of them 'have adopted social media, with the top platform being Facebook, followed by company blogs, LinkedIn and Twitter'. Booktopia, at the finalists' dinner on 25 July 2012, was announced as the Telstra 1300Australia People's Choice Award beneficiary. The people's choice award gives the Australian public the opportunity to vote for their favourite businesses, based on the belief that customers are great judges of service, values, innovation and strength of businesses. Congratulations must go to this fantastic, innovative and successful online bookselling business in Lane Cove in New South Wales. It utilises the internet and social media and connects with customers, providing a benchmark for other small to medium businesses to emulate. (Time expired)