The Confederation of Greater Hobart Business Ltd is a body whose primary purpose is to represent the members views. If this means going against popular media narrative, State or Local Government plans it’s the way the cookie needs to crumble. Fiercely independent both financially and without elected members of Local or State Government on the board, our members have peace of mind knowing they are truly heard and our voice represents THEIR views.
In recent times we have seen a number of projects released by Local and State Government that are simply not fit for purpose. More worryingly we found that the level of grass roots consultation in developing these projects is minimal at best.
Can ANYONE explain the additional $500k consumer spending into the CBD that the E-Scooters vendors claim has occurred? Given you can barely carry a small bag on an E-Scooter does the $500k represent 100,000 cups of coffee? Or is it a nod to the additional income enjoyed by local dentists who have highlighted a spike in dental work on riders front teeth as a result of accidents? We have yet to locate a business claiming to have experienced significant additional spending as a result of this mode of transport.
Why is it that a State Government grant is not being called out for what it is: a failure. Recent articles state that in the round 1 just finished just 200 businesses throughout Tasmania managed to apply. Given there are over 17,000 ABN’s in Greater Hobart alone – and many times more Tasmania wide – I would expect less than 0.5% of businesses in the State met the strict criteria. Having spoken to the Minister of Small Business Office this morning I am pleased to announce that this number is now up to 400 – which is still just shy of 1%. One of the primary sticking points is that any application requires an acceptable COVID plan to be constructed. Unlike earlier COVID plans which only had to be 1/2 a page in length current expectation requires written explanations for all elements of the plan. Our experience is this can take from 10 to 20 hours to construct which is a huge amount of red tape.
Why has the focus moved to throwing money at small business without examining a bigger picture. The point of job keeper was to keep staff employed. It kept the focus on the small business functioning albeit at a lower level and ensured that staff employed were not racing off to centrelink. The best outcome of all being that as the trading environment improved everything was ready to steam on strongly very quickly. Any grants supplied to small business should be done so with productivity and resilience in mind. None of us wish for a handout mentality.
How can any local council justify discriminating against business types when supplying support. To note: Hobart City Council currently acts as if it is no more than a giant food hall. Increasing seating for free, reducing running costs – but only if you sell food and beverages ignores completely the plight of retail and service business in the CBD who in some instances are suffering even more so.
State Government and Local Government alike should be doing more ‘thinking outside the box’ to solve the economic fall we are starting to experience. Here are some suggestions that help a wide spectrum of small businesses. Note none of these result in a handout but rather boost local spending where it is needed.
a) Initiate statewide lottery – in which in order to participate members of the public have to spend certain amounts at different types of businesses. This could be directly targeted both in area, size and volume of sales. The lottery prize could be a single prize or several over a time span. It could be anything from refund of 5 x the winning entry spend through to $10,000
b) Local council could apply same type of lottery but instead offer as a prize free parking for a year, a year bus pass or even a road-bike.
c) State Government/Local Council could get inventive and try for a broader rate of entry by setting up a Monopoly style game as was done in the the 80’s by Eastlands and many times since by McDonalds franchises. The reason this competition style is used? It ensures that each consumer is compelled to buy multiple times to ‘collect’ to win.