14 February 2023

Opinion piece: Support small business this Valentine’s Day


Published in the Canberra Times

Across the country, Australians are expected to spend $485 million on Valentine's Day this year.

It's the perfect chance to help out our small business sector, whether that's by grabbing flowers from GG's in Canberra or ordering something sweet from the Fudge A'Fare in my hometown of Hobart.

It's been a tough few years for small businesses.

Owners and staff alike stared down a pandemic, multiple natural disasters and are now being squeezed by an increasing cost of living. Businesses are struggling to find staff and supply chains continue to be an issue.

We know the small business community is resilient, but it's a lot to take on. For some owners, it's been too much.

That's why the Albanese government has put small businesses at the heart of our decision making.

We have passed legislation to make unfair contract terms illegal so small businesses can negotiate fairer agreements with large partners, and provided more than $15 million for small business owners across Australia to access free mental health and financial counselling support.

We've already updated Commonwealth Procurement Rules, which will mean small businesses get a bigger slice of the $70 billion in contracts the Australian government spends every year, and have taken steps towards ensuring small businesses are paid within 30 days.

Staff shortages will be helped by our fee-free TAFE places and an increase in skilled migration, and just last week I introduced into Parliament our signature housing legislation to ensure we get more homes on the ground as quickly as possible.

The Albanese government has stepped up to the plate with support for small business, but there's something that every single person can do to help out - shop small.

Australia's millions of small businesses are at the heart of local communities across the country, and today they can also be at the heart of all our gift gifting.