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Thursday, 19 October 2017
Page: 11383

Mr DRUM (MurrayChief Nationals Whip) (10:09): Earlier this month I was able to host the Minister for Small Business, Michael McCormack, in my electorate of Murray. We had a range of forums where he was able to talk to many of the small businesses in my region. Small business is often referred to as the engine room of the economy and this is the absolute truth when it comes to the electorate of Murray. Murray has over 18,000 small and medium sized businesses and, whilst we didn't get the chance to talk to every one of them, we certainly did our best. We started in Echuca. We had a forum for breakfast in Echuca with small-business owners, from real estate agents to newsagency owners. We had people from every sector within Echuca. There was great service from the cafe owner, David Bowman, who looked after us and hosted that breakfast.

We then travelled to Shepparton, where small-business owners were willing to stop and have a chat with the minister as we walked down Fryers Street. We started with Safety Services, which is a business that sells safety clothing for construction sites around the Goulburn Valley. Young business owners are fully involved in all of the issues to do with small business and are certainly looking for assistance with things such as a lower tax rate for business and the instant asset write-off. As we continued our way down Fryers Street, we went into one of our newer cafes, Jetjas, owned by Jackie Walker and her partner. Jetjas is a derivative of the Yorta Yorta language. Jackie makes a whole range of Indigenous food, as well as everyday cafe food. They are very enthusiastic and are pushing hard. It is a real goer in the city of Shepparton. Also in the same stretch is Friars Cafe with Bec Dennis and her partner. They reinforced how important it is for businesses to have the instant asset write-off. We went to the Goulburn Murray Credit Union and spoke to their business people about some of the challenges that they're having. We had a forum at the council. We had a forum with the Committee for Greater Shepparton, with Michael McCormack again talking to businesses about what we are doing as a government to assist them. In the evening we had dinner, again with more businesses, and they had the opportunity to come and talk to Michael McCormack.

The businesses in the electorate of Murray, like businesses everywhere, want access to the government and access to ministers. They want to get their issues out in relation to energy, the labour workforce and what more we can do to support businesses and their investments.