My Sister’s House owner Nicole Gillespie plans on expanding the business.
My Sister’s House owner Nicole Gillespie plans on expanding the business. Adam Wratten

Business owner expands enterprise

ROCKHAMPTON'S Nicole Gillespie is so confident about the region's future she's set to expand her business.

The small business operator, who owns My Sister's House on East St and also runs RBC Blinds and Shutters, said although times had been tough the outlook for the region was great.

Nicole spoke yesterday about the current environment and her thoughts on what governments could do to support local businesses.

Her comments follow the release of a Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland report which highlights the issues on the minds of CQ business operators heading into the state and local government elections.

While Central Queensland's outlook was rated the strongest in the State, several hot topics were identified (see fact box).

Issues included the carbon tax, complexity of the industrial relations and Commonwealth tax systems, the ongoing skills shortage and inability of business to retain staff when competing with the mining and resources industries, the cost of freight and level of energy costs.

Nicole said she'd love to see the GST and tax system simplified.

"It takes so long to administer because of the amount of paperwork you have to go through," she said.

"I would spend as much time on this as I would in the shop."

She also acknowledged the impost on her East St business of rising freight and electricity costs, but said the responsibility was on her to work hard and reduce these.

One area she would love to see governments spend on is ensuring Rockhampton is never cut off again by floods.

"That nearly killed me; we couldn't get stock in and we lost all customers during that period," Nicole said.

She said it took more than four months for business to return to normal.

But now everything is looking a lot brighter.

"The sky is the limit. Times have been incredibly tough but I'm so confident for the future I'm looking to expand. There are some great things in the pipeline."

Business barriers

Hot issues for Central Queensland businesses include:

Carbon tax.

State Government's level of debt.

Significant lack of accommodation in the region impacting on affordability.

Government focus on SEQ, resulting in inadequate infrastructure.

Cost of freight, particularly interstate.

Overall complexity of the Commonwealth tax system.

Skills shortage and inability to retain staff when competing with the mining and resource industries.

Enhancing road infrastructure to ensure the accessibility of major regional centres all year round and during all weather conditions.

Fly-in, fly-out workforces hurting local businesses and communities.

Source: Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland.



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