PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has urged Australians to shop at local small businesses this November, launching a national campaign to help out the struggling sector.
Mr Abbott launched the Shop Small campaign on Thursday, joined by Small Business Minister Bruce Billson in Melbourne.
The campaign was backed by American Express, the Council of Small Businesses of Australia and the Australian Hotels Association among other corporates.
Mr Abbott said small businesses and local malls and shopping centres were "the heart of so many towns and suburbs" around the country.
He said the sector deserved both the respect of "officialdom" and support of consumers, describing a need for a level playing field between small business and the big end of town.
The campaign hopes to capitalise on early Christmas spending by Australian shoppers, in a bid to revive spending in bricks and mortar shops when so many consumers are turning to online shopping.