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Why regional SMEs need a seat at the table this Federal Election

Far North Queensland businesses were left off the agenda on the weekend when Labor’s Federal Election campaign visited Cairns, with business groups not consulted on commitments impacting small business and critical labour market shortages.

Cairns Chamber of Commerce CEO Patricia O’Neill said Cairns business groups needed a seat at the table during this Federal Election and for their needs and insights to be at the forefront.

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“It’s critical businesses are consulted, engaged and their needs are heard during policy development which impacts them but more than ever their insights must be at the forefront during a Federal Election,” Mrs O’Neill said.

“Regional businesses are the backbone of Queensland labour markets, communities and economies and for them not to be engaged during an election campaign is not good enough.

“Now is the time for Cairns businesses to send a clear message about what they need from a Federal Government and they can’t afford to be ignored.

“Now is also the time for governments to be backing Australian businesses to be not only resilient and diversified but competitive now and in the future.

“Cairns Chamber of Commerce is an apolitical organisation and we welcome opportunities to meet with all sides of government.

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“Far North businesses rely on us to make sure their needs are in front of all levels of government and to ensure their voice is heard so it’s essential the value of that insight is acknowledged.”

Mrs O’Neill said businesses would be looking for commitments to alleviate labour and skills shortages, create job opportunities and a better trading environment for small businesses to flourish with less red tape.

“We know Far North Queensland businesses need incentives to drive productivity growth over the long term plus maximising sustainability opportunities for economic diversification in the green economy.

“Small business is calling for tax reform and/or incentives to fund the recent call for wages & salaries to be increased in line with the with the associated pressures on the”

“It is no secret that the chronic shortage of GP’s across our region is placing a handbrake of the growth of practices and in turn a strain on our hospital system.  We are calling for aa firm commitment to extend the DPA, to allow more GP’s to have the incentive to work in Far North Qld Medical practices rather than migrating to the capital cities.”

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Mrs O’Neill said businesses could contribute their insights into current operating conditions via Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland’s Pulse Survey.

“CCIQ’s quarterly Pulse Survey has been ongoing for more than 20 years but the March quarter survey, now open, is among the most important since the start of the COVID-19 economic crisis in Queensland in March 2020,” Ms O’Neill said.

“CCIQ uses data collected from Queensland businesses via the Pulse Survey to tell government what businesses need to recover and develop, what is challenging the day-to-day operations of the state’s business economy, and what it will take for business conditions in Queensland as well as the regions to improve.

“These insights are used to help shape state and federal policies on behalf of businesses.

“It’s critical regional business voices are included so I encourage Far North businesses to take the opportunity to share their insight.”

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