Dynamic Business editor Jen Bishop has been invited to sit down with NSW Small Business Minister Katrina Hodgkinson this week to discuss the future provision of small business services in the State.
Last week Bishop broke the story about Small Business September (which Dynamic Business was media sponsor of last year) and other popular programs being axed. The story has since been followed up by Kochie’s Business Builders, Shoe String Launch and the Sydney Morning Herald. The programs, including the Women in Business mentoring program, are to be replaced with the Small Biz Connect program.
Dynamic Business endeavours to provide a voice for small business and we have some concerns around the seeming lack of consultation carried out. That said, we are more than happy to sit down and discuss the changes and how we can best communicate them to our readership and we appreciate this gesture by the Minister
This week, Shadow Small Business Minister Adam Searle expressed his disappointment at the changes and his doubts around the newly created post of Small Business Commissioner occupied by Yasmin King.
He said: “What was a month of celebration and recognition of the contribution made by small business to the community [Small Business September] will now be a wake. This is a very disappointing development. The O’Farrell Government is sending a clear signal that it does not support the people who are the backbone of our economy.”
He added: “At the last election, the Coalition promised to be a friend to small business and create a Small Business Commissioner to ‘cut red tape’. On 6 September last year, the O’Farrell Government said it would bring legislation forward to provide a statutory basis for the Small Business Commissioner. More than six months later, we are still waiting.
“During Budget estimates last year, Small Business Minister Katrina Hodgkinson was unable to answer any questions about what the Small Business Commissioner would actually do, or how it would reduce compliance costs for small business. Since then, the Small Business Commissioner has undertaken a taxpayer-funded tour of NSW and produced a glossy brochure, but has not produced anything of substance to help small business in this State.
“It is now clear the Minister has no vision for this Commissioner position or how it could provide meaningful help and support to small business in NSW. The inaction of the O’Farrell Government and the Minister suggests their election policy was all just window-dressing.”
The State Government did in fact announce a new scheme, Small Biz Connect, at the end of last month. Dynamic Business however, did not receive a press release. We do not believe the scrapping of events such as Small Business September was mentioned in this announcement and Dynamic Business was tipped off to this news. The magazine has asked the Minister when she had intended to announce this news had we not published the story but we have not received an answer.
Small Business Commissioner Yasmin King called Bishop on Friday for an off the record courtesy chat about the way forward. We appreciate the efforts of both her and the Minister in setting the record straight and we will continue to update you.