IMPROVEMENTS to training, financial assistance and retail tenants were among topics addressed by Federal Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack on a visit to the Rose City.
Mr McCormack was visiting the electorate with LNP colleague and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud when he met with Warwick Chamber of Commerce president Julia Keogh and co-vice president Louise Clarke on Monday afternoon.
Arriving in the Rose City from Roma via Dalby, the minister said he - like Warwick small business owners - was awaiting news of whether the tax break for small business owners would continue in the new financial year. "Under this tax break small businesses have been able to buy anything they require up to $20,000 and write it off,” Mr McCormack said.
"The treasury has done modelling of the costs and benefits of this plan, which is due to expire on June 30.
"The budget is due for release on the second Tuesday in May and the only person privy to that right now is (treasurer) Scott Morrison, but I hope it will continue in the next budget.”
Hailing from Wagga Wagga, Mr McCormack represents the regional electorate of Riverina in New South Wales.
He said he would raise the issue of training provision for regional employers with his parliamentary colleagues.
The minister said the issue of empty shop fronts was not uncommon.
"With connectivity now, many people are able to work from home provided they're disciplined,” Mr McCormack said.
"There are incentives to having a shop front, such as greater visibility and exposure, compared to operating from home.
"Rent can be a major business expense and sometimes the landlord doesn't want to lower the cost of rent and thus lower the value of the building.
"I think it could be worth looking at subsidies for businesses.”
Ms Keogh said it was a great opportunity to direct business questions to Mr McCormack at yesterday's meeting.
"It's great to be able to get him here while he's doing lots of visits around Queensland and Australia,” she said.
"From a Chamber of Commerce view, it's fantastic he's making himself available to us to direct those questions from our members and for us to be able discuss the business environment with him.
"At the end of the day it's important to make those connections in person rather than just sending off applications and letters, and that's fantastic for small business in our areas.”
Mr McCormack also spoke with the Stanthorpe Chamber of Commerce this morning about water security, the backpackers tax, regional security and internet connectivity.