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Thursday, 17 June 2010
Page: 5831

Mr BILLSON (11:11 AM) —Yes, I thought the minister was providing constructive input. In relation to the business names issue, could I get some breakdown on the effort? Some questions have been raised with me—though not hostile to the idea; nor am I—about the costs to the states in administering their schemes and how that washed through in that initiative. Where is that administrative burden and cost going to land? I could not work out from the material available to me and in the budget appropriation how that was being factored into that measure. Some insights on that would be good.

Minister, on your point about the smaller operators, I was thinking in particular about A&J Floorsanding Pty Ltd. They are registered and operate in and around Sydney and have for some time. They are doing quite well. Then a totally unrelated business, not A&J but AJ Floor Sanding popped up, and there was an argument that there was sufficient difference in their names simply by not having the ‘&’ symbol. It turned out that it might have been a software problem to do with the ‘&’ symbol. I am curious as to how that may work out and the extent to which the initiative that you announced in the budget will help overcome and protect businesses from ambush marketing.

In relation to other parts of the budget, we have inquired previously about business enterprise centres and the funding program that you are responsible for, Minister, and the work that was going on around performance objectives and KPIs—and I understand there was a process of developing those so there was clarity. How is that going? Do these appropriations foreshadow any new business enterprise centres? You would no doubt be aware that there is a perception that there are some gaps in the marketplace, that some geographic regions are not being serviced. A range of other influences were at play in the way locations were selected in the lead-up to the election—which tends to happen in the lead-up to an election. I am interested as to how that is going. I am also interested in the advocacy for small business within cabinet. Is Senator Carr getting adequate opportunity? I am sure you would like to be around the big table and be involved in those discussions. How is that working its way through? There is a sense that there has been an oversight of small business implications from decisions that are being made. I would like a sense of how that advocacy is being carried by Senator Carr in cabinet and then in the gang of four. I would appreciate your insights on that.