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Small Business – Small Business Growth Strategy

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 8 June 2023

Tags: Small Business, State Budget

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, I have some questions about the Small Business Growth Strategy. There is a range of policies in the implementation strategy that have dollar figures attached to them for this financial year and for the forward Estimates, but they don't appear to be in the Budget. These include: $1.7 million to appoint a pool of experienced, skilled and diverse, on-the-ground, generalist business advisors; $500 000 to develop a staged plan for the implementation of specialist business advisors; up to $1 million dollars to deliver round two of the Business Incubator And Accelerator Pilot Program; and $525 000 to design and deliver round three of the Business Advice And Financial Guidance Program.

Can you advise if the funding is in the Budget for these, and if so where it is?

Ms OGILVIE - It is out of the existing budget. Mr Bowles might have some more information.

Dr WOODRUFF - They are attached to this financial year, the coming financial year, so they are new, not existing.

Mr BOWLES - All of the small business programs are in output 1.2 of the Budget papers. Those programs that you have mentioned include funding that is the current financial year and in future financial years.

Dr WOODRUFF - So, it's not new money to those things? It has already been funded, is that what you are saying?

Ms OGILVIE - It has got existing funding.

Dr WOODRUFF - And you have already announced them as new things for which you sought funding? When did you do that?

Mr BOWLES - Some programs are receiving funding from, for example, some of the COVID-199 funds that are being repurposed. There is a combination of repurposed funds and existing funding.

Dr WOODRUFF - So, it is all there in the Budget; under what part of the Budget?

Mr BOWLES - Output group 1.2.

Dr WOODRUFF - And specifically what is the line item?

Mr BOWLES - Industry and business development.

Dr WOODRUFF - It is just there as a lump sum, and not specifically carved out.

Mr BOWLES - Small business is not carved out; there is a number of portfolios that are in industry and business development.

Dr WOODRUFF - Sure; but these particular policies that are being implemented with budget figures attached to them in the strategy are not identified specifically in the Budget. I did not see them.


Dr WOODRUFF - So, what is the progress on a staged plan for the implementation of specialist small business advisors? When will that be developed by?

Ms CAIRNEY - In terms of the specialist advisors, that will be part of some future budget submissions.

Dr WOODRUFF - What do you mean?

Ms CAIRNEY - As part of the staged process, we have funding available for the first part of the new Tbus program. To move into the next phase of it, that will be part of future budget considerations.

Dr WOODRUFF - When will specialist business advisors be employed?

Ms OGILVIE - We're going through a process of restructuring the business enterprise centres, at the moment.

Dr WOODRUFF - It sounds glacial. I would like to know when it's going to happen.

Ms OGILVIE - It's not glacial; it's very important work.

Dr WOODRUFF - This financial year?

Ms OGILVIE - The work is underway at the moment. We're going through the probity issues around those contracts. That will restructure how we provide business advice services, including a new online component, and that business advice capability can now also be delivered in person and online. We've noticed through doing our engagement is that there is a need for a more contemporary approach to business services and the nature of the services that can be provided, so that relates to that item. I hope that that will continue to grow and I'm very excited about that.

Dr WOODRUFF - When are the business advisors going to be employed - this year if you're getting contracts?

Ms OGILVIE - We have people employed already through the business enterprise centres and we're going through a process of restructuring those; but we will be adding to the capacity.

Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, there's $1.7 million in the implementation strategy. We've heard from Mr Bowles that it is incorporated within the Budget to appoint a pool of experienced skills and diverse on-ground generalist business advisers. How many of them are there, and where are they located around the state?

Ms OGILVIE - Thank you. I will ask Mr Bowles to speak to that. I think he'll have some detail on that. My apologies. I went the wrong way on that one. Ms Cairney.

Ms CAIRNEY - We're currently in the process of redesigning or relaunching the old Enterprise Centre Tasmania model and that will now be the new TBAS model. We're currently working through the approval process for that.

We'll have four regions across the state - the north, west and northwest, east and south - with advisers in each. There are subregions within these as well. In the north is George Town, West Tamar and Launceston, Northern Midlands, Meander Valley and Flinders Island. They get base funding, plus a fee per service as well. So, it's not necessarily the number of advisers, but there would be one organisation that would cover that region and it might have numerous advisers in place.

Likewise, the west and north-west region is split into two subregions, with Burnie, Devonport, West Coast, Circular Head and then King Island as well, with one provider put in place there as well.

Similarly on the east coast, Break O'Day is one subregion, and then Sorell, Tasman, Glamorgan-Spring Bay, and Clarence

Similarly in the south, where we have the Huon Valley, Kingborough and Hobart, Glenorchy, Southern Midlands, and Brighton.

Statewide there are four providers, one for each region, but they might have different advisers within their -

Ms DOW - Different specialists.

Dr WOODRUFF - It sounds heavily focused on the north and the north-west, relative to - when you say small business, what size are the businesses?

Ms CAIRNEY - Small business is classified as those having 19 FTE staff and under. In terms of the focus, the funding is split according to the number of businesses in those areas as well - so comparatively speaking, the regions with the most businesses will get the most funding, if that makes sense.