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Potential impropriety over business centres.

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The Business Enterprise Centres Association has written to the NSW Minister for Small Business, David Campbell, raising concerns that due process may not have been followed by the NSW State Government over funding cuts to the Business Enterprise Centres, the Federal Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Joe Hockey, said today.

According to the Business Enterprise Centres Association of New South Wales;

“Small Business Minister, David Campbell did not consult or advise the existing contract holders of the government’s intention to reduce the services.”

The Carr Government needs to come clean on just who was consulted.

The BEC Association goes on to point out that;

“In fact most BECs were advised of the new arrangements on Monday 8 June, through their media outlets, who received the Minister’s media release on the Sunday evening.” (letter to Minister Campbell, 24/06/04)

These hard working people, servicing the needs of local communities, mostly in regional areas, weren’t even give the courtesy of being told by the NSW Minister that they were having their funding cut. They had to read about in the media.

Serious questions are being asked about the propriety of this process and the people of NSW deserve to know what criteria were used in selecting which BECs would have their funding cut and which BECs would become so-called super centres.

The Federal Government demands that the Carr Government explain why 66% of the new centres are in key Labor marginal seats but only 36% of those closing are in key Labor marginal seats.

The Federal Government is particularly concerned that the distribution of BECs will benefit Labor politically.

This entire process has been mismanaged by the NSW Minister for Small Business, David Campbell, and the Carr Government must release all the paperwork to show that due process was in fact followed.

Media contact: Sasha Grebe, 0408 974 349