Queensland’s business sector wants political parties on the campaign trail to commit to reducing regulation and costs while providing targeted grants to encourage sustainable practices as the state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has announced it’s priorities for businesses in the led up to the state election on Oct. 31.
CCIQ said small businesses are the engine room of local communities and drivers of the economy, and they want to know how the next elected government will do business with them.
In a media release published on Sept. 15, CCIQ’s general manager of advocacy and policy, Amanda Rohan, said: “As we have been saying consistently throughout the COVID-19 crisis, there is no reverting to business as usual. And that goes for the priorities we are calling for.”
In Queensland, 445,830 small businesses collectively generate $113 billion for the state’s economy; employing 44 percent of the private sector workforce.
Rohan said CCIQ’s priorities are to enable businesses to succeed now and to create an environment for them to grow and be resilient and sustainable going into the future.
“In Queensland, we will always face a magnitude of external challenges. We’re still in a drought, cyclones, and storms will still come. And as we have seen in the last six months, our economy is exposed to international influences,” Rohan said.
CCIQ wants the government to reduce regulatory complexities and duplication of processes and provide targeted funding and grants for sustainable practices to help reduce the increasing burden of operating costs carried by business.
“Importantly, there needs to be future policies that lay the foundation of long-term change, incentivising diversification and expansion opportunities. While developing digital adaption and capabilities,” she said. “Queensland’s future success is reliant on business success; we can’t emphasise that enough.”
“This election, all political parties need to show business they are prepared to back their success and commit to these election priorities,” she said.
On Sept. 7, Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick announced the government would invest $1 billion directly into commercial businesses and projects to generate Queensland jobs through the COVID-19 recovery. Among other areas, it will target small and medium businesses.
Half of this will go to state-owned energy companies in a Renewable Energy Fund. The other half will go to other areas of the economy through a Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund managed by the state-owned Queensland Investment Corporation.
“The fund will support good quality Queensland businesses that need capital to create jobs,” he said.
“Importantly, the Fund will also consider taking ownership positions in assets that have been previously privatised, where it means more jobs for Queenslanders,” he added.
The treasurer said the Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund would have the ability to partner with entities like superannuation funds and other financial institutions.
“Business as usual will not cut it as we recover from COVID-19,” the treasurer said.
“More than ever, Queensland businesses need to be resilient and agile to deal with rapidly evolving threats and opportunities.