Fresh start for WA’s Small Business Development Corporation

The West Australian government faces a character test in the eyes of local small business people as it ponders the future of its Small Business Development Corporation in the wake the departure of managing director, Mr Stephen Moir.

“While we didn’t always agree with Steve’s decisions, it is important that the SBDC has a strong leader who can advocate for small business at the State level,” says BEC Australia chairman Peter Murray. “We thank Mr Moir for his efforts in assisting small business in WA whilst SBDC Managing Director and in his previous roles.”

“We believe Steve’s departure is an invaluable opportunity for the government to demonstrate its on-going support of WA’s Small Business sector by making the SBDC a truly independent body, such as an independent statutory authority with a seven member board.

“Three members could be appointed by the WA Government, three by Industry (and we would suggest one member each from the Chambers of Commerce and Industry WA, Council of Small Business of Australia, and BEC Australia) with the final member being a representative elected by the WA SBCs to represent them on the board.”

According to Mr Murray, the WA government and in particular the Treasurer, Mr Troy Buswell, whose portfolio includes the SBDC, should take this opportunity to demonstrate commitment to the small business sector by reforming and enhancing the SBDC so that it can better serve the needs of WA’s small business sector and support the vital work undertaken by the States SBC/BEC Network.

“There is ongoing speculation about the SBDC being dissolved, privatised, or absorbed into another department, and any of those moves would seriously compromise the Corporation’s ability to continue facilitating a vital assistance to 17,000 small businesses a year,” claims Mr Murray.

“In fact, if the WA government really wanted to shore up its crucial, 196,000-strong small business sector, it also would move to Increase funding to Small Business Centres in the next round of funding due to commence in July 2010, particularly Regional SBCs/BECs.”

Mr Murray says BEC Australia wishes Mr Moir every success in his next role.

ENDS

CONTACT: Peter Murray, national chairman, BEC Australia on 0402 722 788 or chair@beca.org.au

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