Mayor rejects calls to make home businesses pay more

THE Safari Room manager Candice Wooler says home-based hairdressers are undercutting her business.

Ms Wooler said customers often came in requesting price matches on services offered by hairdressers operating out of their homes.

The issue was reportedly one that was becoming a larger problem for the industry.

"Home hairdressers don't have the overheads that a small business does," Ms Wooler said.

"We can't price match. We have to pay wages and overheads... we cannot compete at all with home hairdressing. You simply cannot do it."

Ms Wooler said she would be supportive of moves to charge micro-businesses in the region with business rates.

And she's not alone.

Owner of Rockhampton Fitness Centre Norm Jeha said charging home businesses the same rates would be a fair approach, but there would always be other competition.

"We have to pay it… a lot of them wouldn't exist if they had to," he said.

"It all bites into business a bit but in the end it's about working smarter and better."

Rockhampton Regional Council Mayor Margaret Strelow said she had received letters from lobby groups demanding home-based micro-businesses be forced to pay business rates, in addition to another group's request for special freeze rates for businesses in East St.

Cr Strelow said while she could not identify the lobby groups to media, she was opposed to both suggestions.

"We have around 2500 micro-businesses and they are often the source of extra money that comes into a family," she said.

"It's where big businesses begin and it allows for flexibility. It's very much the economy of the future... they are our growth area."

She said the complaints she had received over the lack of rates for these micro-businesses were not constructive to the area's economy.

"We need the environment for more businesses to be hatched, it cannot be about trying to squeeze them out." she said.

"I know times are tough and every cent matters... but our goal has got to be about being positive, not about trying to kill off every competitor that is trying to grow within our own economy."

In regards to the requested rate freeze for businesses located in the CBD, Cr Strelow said the proposal was not sensible.

"We have done the sums, if we froze the rates in the CBD we would have to give double the rate rise to every other business in town, or add .2% to rates across the entire region," she said.

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