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Tony Burke calls on Small Business Minister to investigate all small business incubators.



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MEDIA RELEASE

TONY BURKE MP

Member for Watson Shadow Minister for Small Business 17 February 2005

TONY BURKE CALLS ON SMALL BUSINESS MINISTER TO INVESTIGATE ALL SMALL BUSINESS INCUBATORS

Shadow Minister for Small Business, Mr Tony Burke has called on Small Business Minister, Fran Bailey to investigate all small business incubators currently being funded by the Government’s AusIndustry Small Business Incubator Program.

Mr Burke has demanded the Minister undertake an investigation after it was revealed adequate checks have not been put in place by the Government to make sure the incubators are being used according to the Government’s own guidelines.

“Earlier this week it was revealed Senator Julian McGauran had established an additional electorate office in the Ballarat Small Business Incubator,” said Mr Burke.

“Yet, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources has acknowledged in Senate estimates, it is not aware of how Senator McGauran had been approved a lease in the incubator.

“The General Manager of the Ballarat Small Business Incubator was quoted in the Ballarat Chronicle yesterday as saying he was under the impression Senator McGauran was a suitable tenant.

“But on the same day, the department stated the Ballarat Small Business Incubator’s own lease contracts proclude political organisations from leasing space in the incubator.

“The Government has poured a substantial amount of taxpayer’s money into this program. Clearly, the Minister for Small Business must conduct an investigation of all 84 incubators to ensure the integrity of the program,” said Mr Burke.

Media Contact: Maria Iannotti 0408 274 696