Rocky MP explains how we will get small business going again
MEMBER for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke is working with a number of big gun industry representatives as he looks to address issues stymying small business.
Mr O'Rourke yesterday detailed the consultative approach he has adopted as he comes to grips with the challenges brought on since the "downturn in mining".
In a comprehensive response to concerns outlined by prominent Rockhampton businessman Wayne Riddell in Friday's Morning Bulletin, Mr O'Rourke commended Mr Riddell's initiative and moved to assure him he would work to drive "sustainability and growth".
Mr Riddell, who owns a number of clubs and bars in Rockhampton and has been a key player in the development of major projects such as The Edge and Empire high-rises, had spoken out against a number of government decisions hurting small businesses.
"It has become a nanny state," Mr Riddell said.
"They didn't read the market here and it's killing business."
Mr O'Rourke struck a diplomatic tone with his response.
"I'd like to commend Wayne for his initiative and determination to succeed in a changing environment," Mr O'Rourke said.
"I'd like to assure him that I am keen to work with the Rockhampton business community to encourage sustainability and growth.
"I have already had discussions with Grant Cassidy and the bringing together of some business people, so I can understand the issues they are facing and look at opportunities to develop our tourism and hospitality sector."
Mr Cassidy is a high profile tourism and hospitality industry leader.
"I will be liaising closely with the Chamber of Commerce in the coming weeks and also Capricorn Enterprise," Mr O'Rourke said.
"My recent meeting with Tony Cullen and the economic team at Rockhampton Regional Council has also helped me to understand the issues surrounding economic development opportunities for Rockhampton's business community, and what these opportunities mean for long-term employment.
"I recognise that small businesses are the engine room of our local economy. If we can help them to prosper and thrive they will create more local jobs.
"The downturn in mining has been tough for all our local businesses."
He said the Palaszczuk Government had a clear focus to stimulate the local economy and support business.
"The state government fully understands the impact rising power prices have had on small businesses," Mr O'Rourke said.
"That's why the government intervened last May when the independent regulator recommended price increases of 8.2% for small businesses.
"The government is investing $770 million over three years to ensure the increase is held to 4.1% and we have introduced a series of measures to help small regional businesses..."
He said the redevelopment of the riverfront and CBD, coupled with the measures to stamp out alcohol-fuelled violence, were "making Rockhampton a more attractive destination for a safe night out".
"These changes are all about deterring violent people from entering late night precincts and giving everyone a better chance to have a safe and enjoyable night out," Mr O'Rourke said.