Darling Downs small businesses have shared suggestions and struggles with the State LNP’s Shadow Minister for Small Business Fiona Simpson at a round table meeting held on Tuesday 28 August.

Member for Toowoomba South David Janetzki MP, together with Member for Toowoomba North Trevor Watts MP and Member for Condamine Pat Weir MP hosted the event as part of Fiona’s Queensland tour where she is listening to the problems facing small businesses locally to help build a state small business platform. “We’ve got a passion to champion the issues of small business and help their voice be heard in public policy so they can do well and employ more people to grow the prosperity of local communities,” Fiona said. “Small business is the heart of the of Toowoomba and Darling Downs community so I am looking forward to hearing suggestions from owners about what changes to government policy would help grow their business and allow them to employ more locals,” she said.

David said small businesses accounted for more than half of all jobs in Toowoomba. “Toowoomba is a town built on family businesses, names such as Wagner, Betros, Hanna and Gardner have grown and made enormous contributions to our community. Now we have a new generation of family businesses that need the right conditions to grow and employ local people,” said David. Trevor said the MPs were determined to support the small business sector by reducing red tape to make it easier for small business owners to operate on a day-to-day basis. “Already, small businesses have been in touch with us talking about issues including payroll tax, bureaucratic challenges (including paperwork) and energy prices across the Darling Downs.”

Small businesses drive local employment across the region including Oakey, Crows Nest, Pittsworth and Toowoomba. Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce CEO Jo Sheppard was one of the guests attending and was keen to share her knowledge with the MPs. “Small businesses are operating in an increasingly competitive environment and are facing many challenges including an ongoing skills shortage in many areas making it difficult to attract and keep staff and rising electricity costs,” said Jo. The meeting aimed to hear suggestions to help small businesses grow while ensuring they are provided an environment that supports this aid.

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