When was the last time you deliberately chose to support a Tasmanian small business?
The small business sector currently employs over 100, 000 Tasmanians, and is poised for growth. The ABS reported that September was the state’s 33rd consecutive month of growth in retail turnover, and that business investment in Tasmania was leading the national average with an increase of 4.6 per cent for the June quarter – and a staggering 13.2 per cent higher than one year ago.
With small business making up over 97 per cent of Tasmanian businesses, these trends point to strength and growth in the sector. Indeed, a recent EMRS study found that around 40 per cent of Tasmanian small businesses expect to employ more staff in the next two years.
But we know these trends aren’t being felt everywhere and many small businesses, particularly those in retail and regional areas, still face stiff headwinds. Factors such as rapid growth in online sales, changes in traditional industries and tourism seasonality and dispersal affect consumer spending across the state.
That’s why, over the last three years, the Hodgman Government has deliberately targeted regional economies through policies like the Northern Cities Major Development Initiative, and small businesses through capped electricity bills, energy efficiency loans and grants to reduce the costs of employing apprentices and trainees.
Business conditions are stronger now, but there is more work to do.
Our Plan for Your Future sets out 43 new targets for our next term of government, including targets for business in Tasmania.
By 2022, we aim to increase employment in small business by 10 per cent, have 90 per cent of government contracts won by Tasmanian-based firms and increase the proportion of visitors spending a night (and money) in regional Tasmania to 70 per cent, stimulating local economies.
We will do what we can to create the right conditions for business, including being its best corporate customer through our Buy Local policy, but there is also more that other Tasmanians can do.
One way is for Tasmanian consumers and businesses to adopt their own Buy Local policy, and weigh the benefits of supporting Tasmanian businesses against those of other options, especially online purchases. For retail purchases, factors to consider include customer service, local product knowledge and advice, after sales care and returns policies. The benefits to Tasmania include local jobs and a stronger economy.
As the Christmas season approaches, I encourage all Tasmanians to plan ahead and think about how their Christmas and holiday spending can support Tasmanian businesses and jobs.
By Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business Roger Jaensch