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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9227

Mr WYATT (Hasluck) (10:54): I rise today to talk about the new initiative underway from the Swan Chamber of Commerce in Midland in the north of my electorate of Hasluck. Already well known in Perth for its tireless advocacy on behalf of its members, the Swan Chamber of Commerce has broadened its reach by launching the Swan Junior Chamber of Commerce. The group is for professionals, businesspeople, managers, employees and university and TAFE students who are interested in seeing business grow and develop in the region, who live, work or study in the region and who are aged between 18 and 35 years. It provides young people with social and networking opportunities and the chance to be exposed to leaders in the political and private sectors. The Swan Chamber of Commerce will also provide its junior counterpart with business mentoring, leadership development, access to visiting VIPs and help find employment for its student members when they have completed their studies.

It is the mentoring side of this partnership that provides the most value to their members. Young people by their very nature tend to be risk-takers; they often see the world through a different lens than those of us who have been around for a while longer. By providing an incubator for these young people to grow their business plans, the Swan Junior Chamber of Commerce can help give them the real-world experience to make their ideas become a success. This is so important as we should be constantly looking to encourage new minds and thought processes to enter the corporate sector. It helps keep its DNA fresh; it makes others adjust their thinking and keeps some of the stalwarts of an industry on their toes as well.

On Saturday night, I attended an event at the Swan Chamber of Commerce, its annual awards evening, the Hanson Swan Business Awards. The junior chamber members were in attendance and had a table that was donated by a small business. As is usual with one of these events, it was a successful evening and it was striking to see so many small business owners being recognised for their efforts. These people are doing it tough in a challenging environment. I was pleased to see them recognised for their tenacity, their innovation and their success.

As in all aspects of life, ensuring that we provide space, advice and support for those who are coming behind us is critical. This is especially so in the field of small business. Small business is the employment engine of the country. It creates millions of jobs; it supports millions of families. We as a nation must ensure that we provide fertile ground for them to grow and that the seeds can be planted and take hold. That is why I am proud to stand here today and put on the record my appreciation of the launch of the Swan Junior Chamber of Commerce in Midland. Long may it succeed. The opportunity that is afforded to young people by the Swan Chamber of Commerce will see many become leaders within the small business sector and contribute to the economy of this country. The innovation they develop and experience they gain from that process will certainly prove to be invaluable in the future.