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Monday, 22 October 1973
Page: 2400

Mr MORRIS (SHORTLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I address my question to the Minister for Secondary Industry and by way of preface I point out that the previous Minister for Second Industry presented to this House on 12 April 1973 the report of the Committee on Small Businesses. The previous Minister told the House that the Government was anxious to attend to the problems of small businesses as they exist in Australia and to provide assistance where it might be necessary. Can the Minster now tell us what steps have been taken in this regard? Will the Government be putting forward any firm proposals directed to the needs of small businesses in Australia?

Mr ENDERBY (Minister for Secondary Industry) - The Government is hoping to put forward certain proposals concerning the needs of small businesses in Australia. My predecessor had occasion to make certain statements on this subject in this House some months ago. The Government takes the view that small business is a particularly important aspect of the business community in Australia and adds up to a very substantial proportion of all business activities. When one bears in mind the ever increasing tendency for business to become concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, with all the consequential problems of economic power, one realises the importance of giving assistance to small businesses. I am hoping that a Cabinet submission will be considered soon. Indeed, I take this opportunity, with the Prime Minister sitting alongside me, to express the hope that in the next week or so the matter will be listed at the top of the agenda for the next meeting of Cabinet so that it can be considered.

Mr Ian Robinson (COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Are you not doing too well?

Mr ENDERBY - We are doing extremely well, but there are so many aspects coming forward on the Cabinet agendas that one has to push one's claim all the time. I put that point of view forward at this time.

Mr MacKellar - And doing it publicly, too.

Mr ENDERBY - That is right.

Mr Killen - Could I help out there?

Mr ENDERBY - No, thank you. We are also hoping to organise a national small business seminar to be held in Canberra on 22 and 23 November. Invitations have already been sent out to representatives of small business throughout Australia. There has been a very enthusiastic response to it. The meeting will be in the nature of a symposium. We feel that a great deal of benefit will come from it which will lead to the creation soon of a small business administration.

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