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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 7103

WYATT ROY (Longman) (16:25): Last Friday, I hosted the launch of the Longman Executive Business Branch with 70 key business people from my community. I take the opinions of business owners and managers in my electorate very seriously. As I have always said, I strive not only to be the voice of my community here in this place but also to provide every opportunity for the voices of my electorate to be heard in person by key decision makers. It has always been my aim to bring key decision makers to my electorate to listen to residents themselves, in their own words, about what they believe are the challenges facing them in their lives, and how government can solve these problems—or, better yet, not create new problems.

It was in this vein that I launched the Longman Executive Business Branch, which I hope will be a platform for my community to access key decision makers. The Longman Executive Business Branch will invite individuals who have a direct influence on business policy to address business people in my region, providing local business people with the opportunity to voice their opinions. The Longman Executive Business Branch will be an avenue for business people to share their experiences and provide insight into what is happening at a local level. This insight will be integral in shaping policies and enabling government to perform its role—that is, facilitating businesses so they can be successful contributors to the economy.

I have spoken many times before in this place about the challenges facing small business in my electorate: rising operating costs, the lack of flexibility in the workplace, red tape, green tape, superannuation contributions. These are all difficulties that the businesses in my electorate are contending with on a day-to-day basis. Many of these challenges have been made worse by this current Labor government. When I am speaking with the owners and managers of small business in my electorate, they are telling me that new taxes are not helping them run their business, that new taxes are not helping them employ people and that new taxes are not making it easier for their business to prosper and contribute to the local economy. If only this government were listening to the engine room of our economy. If they were, they would be hearing small businesses yelling very loud and clear that they need confidence in the market and confidence in the government, that they need government to be in touch with what is going on locally and that they need government to make decisions that will help, not hinder, their ability to run their business.

As policy-makers, it is important that we listen to our constituents and to our local businesses, and understand how our policy translates into practice. This is exactly what the Longman Executive Business Branch seeks to facilitate. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleague the shadow minister for communications and broadband, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, who attended the launch of the Longman Executive Business Branch. Business owners and managers appreciated the discussion about communications and how a coalition government will work to assist small business.