LOOKING GOOD: Mark and Bruce Woods from Stewarts Department Store with Small Business Minister Bruce Billson and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry during yesterday’s tour of East St businesses.
LOOKING GOOD: Mark and Bruce Woods from Stewarts Department Store with Small Business Minister Bruce Billson and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry during yesterday’s tour of East St businesses. Photo Contributed

Small Business Minister’s big budget sell to CQ

DESPITE challenging times in the mining industry, slumps in beef prices and natural disasters, Small Business Minister Bruce Billson sees positivity in Rockhampton's economy.

He toured the city's CBD yesterday morning before holding a small business forum, business lunch and Free Trade Agreement roadshow with Capricornia MP Michelle Landry.

The visit came after last week's "have a go" Federal Budget unveiled several incentives for small businesses, including a tax cut and the ability for an immediate deduction for any assets less than $20,000. Speaking after the small business forum, Mr Billson said he had seen plenty of optimism in Rockhampton.

He said much of the forum focused on how the city could energise its small business community, which Rockhampton Regional Mayor Margaret Strelow said was smaller than other regional areas.

"Celebrate the success of other small businesses," Mr Billson said. "Really highlight how crucial family businesses, farming enterprises and small businesses are to the local community and that will encourage others to step up to create an environment that encourages enterprising."

Mr Billson said it was important for regions to have diverse economies.

"In this region particularly, you've had a challenge of not only natural disaster, but also transformation in the economy," he said.

"You've been blessed with a mining industry which shone so brightly, I think it might have actually blurred or over-awed what else has been going on in the economy, so that transition is a challenge.

"My view is that you play to your strengths to diversify and then bring other businesses into the game."

Mr Billson said it would be good to see more businesses in the region expanding to the export market.

Budget bonus

  • Immediate tax deductions for assets up to $20,000
  • 1.5% tax cut for small business, 5% discount for unincorporated small businesses
  • No Fringe Benefits Tax for smartphones and tablets

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