Business resilience

FEDERAL Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson has met with businesses and local employers in Traralgon to encourage the community to shop locally.

Mr Billson visited the region with Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester to meet with management at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission offices and Grow Master.

The minister urged Gippslanders to do any last minute Christmas shopping locally, stressing the benefits to the local economy.

He said it was crucial to support small businesses and family enterprises, who provide so much of the local economic and employment opportunities.

“When you look at the livelihoods that are made possible by the courage and commercial risk, the real ‘have a go’ attitude that’s been displayed here, that’s what we want to encourage,” Mr Billson said.

He commented on the resilience of small business owners, after a fire devastated Grow Master in 2012 and it immediately reopened the following week.

“I’m always impressed by the innovative ideas that regional small business owners use to overcome their distance from distributors and a smaller workforce,” Mr Billson said.

“They’re also very resilient and it’s been a tremendous effort by Craig and Debbie Goodman to get their nursery back up and running to an even greater capacity within 12 months of a devastating fire event.”

Mr Chester said the ASIC office was a good example of how decentralisation could benefit a regional community.

“There are around 400 people working at the ASIC office in Traralgon making it an important local employer,” Mr Chester said.

“The office has been in operation since 1991 and in that time a number of families have moved to the region to take up job opportunities.

“I will be pursuing other opportunities for decentralisation which will benefit the entire region.”

Mr Chester said local businesses should continue to strive to provide that bit extra, whether it be service, follow-up sales, or after-sales service.

“There is a real benefit for small business people to hire locals, who will encourage families and friends to shop in town,” he said.