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Update from the QSBC – July 2023

By 31/08/2023No Comments

We have had a huge start to the beginning of the financial year – engaging with small businesses across the state, via their industry bodies, chambers, councils, and face to face. We have even come across some of the rarely spotted locals as well.

This month, we visited West End, Logan, Innisfail, Mission BeachIngham, and Lucinda. We are off to Carpentaria, the Southwest region, Central Queensland, and North Queensland in the coming months. If you would like us to pop in or if you have a group of businesses looking for support, please get in touch with us

We love hearing from as many small businesses as possible, because it helps to inform our advocacy position, and no one knows better than small business just what they need, especially when they live and breathe their community’s economics on a day-to-day basis. Our call volumes continue to rise, and recently we have seen a prevalence in disputes arising in the construction industry and retail, shifting from the food and accommodation industry previously. 

Overwhelmingly, bond returns and rising costs (across the board) continue to feature, and we are seeing an increase in businesses being unable to pay their rent or attempting to reduce the amount they are required to pay.  If you would like more information about bond returns or rent negotiations, please contact us Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm at 1300 312 344 or submit an enquiry

Despite the challenges, there are some big and very real opportunities on the way – if you live in Queensland, it is hard to get away from the noise that is the Olympics and Paralympic games.  It is now officially 9 years until Queensland hosts the Games, and whilst the Games itself will be a celebration of all that we have achieved in the lead up, the investment and all the steps it takes us to get there are the most important. This is about leaving a legacy for the community once the Games come and go. The best way to create an outstanding legacy is to ensure that Queensland business is front and centre when it comes to procurement. 

Last week, the Queensland Government announced that Queensland businesses will share in $180 billion in government procurement contracts between now and 2032. If you have had a look at the Q2032 Procurement Strategy, you will see  there is a heavy focus (including targets and policies) to maximise the involvement of:

  • Small business
  • Indigenous business
  • Regional and local business
  • Businesses with clear plans for lower emissions.

This strategy is aimed to get businesses “match fit” to win supply contracts before, during and after the Games. Since 2017, the Buy Queensland strategy has seen $57 billion shared by 70,000 Queensland businesses, including more than 31,000 regional businesses.   

If you have never participated in a government tender before, Business Queensland has got you covered, or you can connect with one of the mentors from the Mentoring for Growth program.

Remember, no matter the question, or the concern, your passion is our business, and we are here to help you. 

If you are new to our newsletter or would like to learn more about our services, resources, initiatives, and projects, visit the QSBC website. If you are ever unsure and are looking for more information, give us a call at 1300 312 344 or submit an enquiry.


Small Business Energy Relief Fund

Small-spark businesses in Queensland will receive a $650 power rebate during the 23/24 FY. The rebate will be automatically applied to the electricity account on a quarterly basis ($162.50 per quarter).

To qualify, a small business (including sporting clubs, community organisations, micro-businesses, social enterprises, and charities) must consume less than 100MWh per year.

For multi-site businesses, eligibility is based on the overall electricity consumption of all accounts held by the customer.

Where a sole trader is operating a business from home and their consumption is separately metered (i.e., on a small business tariff), they will be eligible for the $650 rebate.

Small businesses on an embedded network (e.g., in a shopping centre or office building, where a landlord or management corporation on-sells electricity based on consumption), are also eligible for the $650 rebate.

The embedded network operator will need to apply to their retailer for the rebate on behalf of their eligible small business tenants. The retailer will apply a bulk credit to the embedded network operator’s next electricity bill, and the operator will then pass the rebate onto each tenant in their next bill.


Protect against cyber threats

There are between 150,000 to 200,000 small office or home office routers in Australian homes and small businesses – and all are vulnerable to compromise. To prevent network compromises, you should make sure your router settings are set to automatic updates. 

As a small business, you can protect yourself from cyber threats by following these steps:

  • Back up your data regularly 
  • Keep your software up to date
  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Create an incident response plan so you can respond quickly to mitigate cyber-attacks. 

Passphrases
You can use passphrases to stay secure. By setting them to be long, unpredictable, and unique, you are making them harder for cybercriminals to crack. 

  • Password managers can be used to store passphrases. 
  • Using a password manager to save your passphrases will free you of the burden of remembering which passphrase goes where.
  • Ensure that any password manager you use comes from a trusted and reputable source and is protected with its own strong and memorable passphrase.

Multi-Factor Authentication 
MFA is one of the most effective ways to protect your valuable information and accounts. Spend a few minutes to set up MFA on important accounts wherever possible. 

Malware
Malware is a blanket term for malicious software including ransomware, viruses, spyware, and trojans. Set up automatic updates for your operating systems, software, and apps, and with your staff, learn to recognise suspicious links and attachments.


Small but mighty – the microbusiness sector

The small business owners that we met on our visit to the Cassowary Coast region described their businesses as “microbusinesses”, but what is a microbusiness? 

The ‘Micro but Mighty: Magnifying Microbusiness in Australia’ report released this month provided a great summary of microbusinesses in Australia. 

  • Almost 9 in 10 businesses are microbusinesses – the fastest growing segment over the last 4 years. 
  • They usually have a small number of employees (or are self-employed), have less formal operations, and have less reliance on conventional business premises. 
  • In the 2020-21 FY, all microbusinesses comprised a workforce of 2.9 million people and generated $265 billion in value-added productivity.
  • Women play a key role in the microbusiness sector, particularly after Covid-19.     

Challenges for microbusinesses:

  • Limited access to finance and specialist expertise (i.e., finance and marketing).
  • Heavy reliance (41%) on internet-based commerce for income (50% or more of total sales) means cyber-attack is a major concern.
  • Increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and the financial capacity to recover.
  • Lack of tailor-made insurance products for microbusinesses, especially those business activities being performed at home.

Source: ‘Micro but Mighty: Magnifying Microbusiness in Australia’, The McKell Institute.


Fee-free TAFE for small business owners

You can complete one qualification under Fee-Free TAFE until December 2023. If you’re eligible, some or all of your course costs will be covered by the Australian and Queensland Governments under the program.  

From certificates to diplomas, there are a range of qualifications to choose from but these are our top study area picks ideal for small business owners, start-ups, and entrepreneurs: 

To qualify you need to:

  • live permanently in Queensland 
  • be 15 years or older 
  • not be enrolled in another qualification
  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, New Zealander, or temporary resident on the pathway to permanent residency. 

To apply, visit tafeqld.edu.au or call 1300 308 233.