In 2000, while the rest of the country was celebrating the new millennium and preparing for the Sydney Olympics, I made one of the biggest decisions of my life, to leave my career in the public service and set up my own consultancy business – just six months shy of long service leave. And despite the challenges, risks and sleepless nights – I loved every minute of my decade in micro-business.
Now, as the Member for Canberra, I continue my love affair with small and micro-business by listening to you, speaking about you, showcasing you and advocating for you.
Since my election in 2010, I’ve sung your praises and put many of you down in history through speeches in Parliament. And I still get excited when I hear about Canberra’s many business success stories and attend awards events.
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I’ve established the Small Business Caucus Group, so my Labor colleagues and I can discuss issues and policy affecting the businesses in our communities.
I’ve set up the first bipartisan Parliamentary Friends of Small and Micro- Business Group, so my parliamentary colleagues and I can hear direct from the business community about their challenges and achievements.
I’ve got you a seat at the table with Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, so you can tell the decision makers to their face where government can make improvements, particularly in tendering, payments and access to contracts.
I know the Canberra business community operates in a unique environment. Often, government is your key customer or client, so the decisions and processes of government have a significant impact on your business, either directly or indirectly. Uncertainty in government can trigger uncertainty in your business and the broader Canberra economy. And inadvertently favouring the big end of town through procurement practices can cut out the flexibility and innovation offered by small and micro-business. I know that from my own experience and from listening to you. And I’m keen that my colleagues – of all political persuasions and at all levels – know that too.
Because unfortunately some of them still see Canberra as a “government theme park”. They don’t understand that about half of our workforce is now in the private sector and we are home to a diverse range of service, health, creative, retail, defence, technology and manufacturing industries – many of whom export to the world.
I see it as my job to raise awareness about what you do and help foster the right environment for you to succeed. I want to see Canberra business grow and thrive. I am standing up for Canberra business. Stand with me.
Authorised by Gai Brodtmann MP,
205 Anketell St, Tuggeranong, ACT, 2900.