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Thursday, 29 May 2003
Page: 15504

Mr CIOBO (9:48 AM) —Many members say to me that I have the great privilege to represent the Gold Coast. It is widely regarded as one of the shining examples of the best that Australia has to offer. I often say to members—and I mean it quite sincerely—that in my view, the great thing about representing the Gold Coast is not its beaches, its high-rises or the rainforests that lie in its hinterland; it is the ethos of the people. In particular, it is their entrepreneurship—the fact that Gold Coast people are willing to get in and give something a go.

Recently I had the opportunity, over the weekend of 9 to 11 May, to participate in the inaugural Gold Coast International Small Business Show. This small business show was held at the Parklands Exhibition Centre and provided a great opportunity for me, through the stall that I took at the show over the weekend, to interact with local Gold Coast small businesses.

On a per capita basis, the Gold Coast has the highest concentration of small businesses in the entire country. The small business show provided the ideal outlet for small businesses to speak with me and also, importantly, for me to talk with many small business operators in my electorate. It coincided with Telstra's launch of its Country Wide service on the Gold Coast. Telstra Country Wide came on board as a major sponsor of the small business show. As a result of Telstra Country Wide now being present on the Gold Coast, they have also rolled out their ADSL services across the board and digitised a number of exchanges, thereby enabling Gold Coast small businesses to get on with doing business with the benefit of broadband.

It is a great pleasure to represent an area that has some 16,000 home based businesses and some 50,000 small businesses, all located within the Gold Coast city area. I remain a strong advocate of the great ethos that exists on the Gold Coast. Many thousands of people in small business on the Gold Coast are willing to make a contribution and recognise that small business is the engine room not only of the Gold Coast economy but of the Australian economy. On that basis, I am pleased to draw it to the attention of this chamber.