Australia’s peak body for small business says a modest cut to funding for the Small Business Advisory Service (SBAS) in the 2012 Federal Budget should be seen as a diligent and measured decision when viewed in the context of global economic conditions and pressure to make savings on the road to surplus, says Business Enterprise Centres Australia (BECA) chairman Jack Hughes.
Treasurer, Wayne Swan, and Small Business Minister, Brendan O’Connor, have decided to extend the SBAS for another four years, just weeks before it was to end on June 30.
“Everyone who understands small business knows the SBAS is a lifeline, particularly to new businesses, in providing free advice to help small business people make sound decisions as they navigate the challenges of the marketplace and labour market,” said Mr Hughes.
“It is clear the Gillard Government has made a tough decision in the national interest, by ensuring BECs can continue nurturing the small business sector through the SBAS, such a crucial act for ensuring any new recoveries do not stall.
“Admittedly, it will be painful bearing a cut in funding from $40 million over four years down to $27.5 million, but to be frank, with all the pressures on the budget there was a real likelihood of getting zero,” said Mr Hughes.
“The remaining challenge now is ensuring the government can run the tender process quickly enough so that funding is available by July 1 to ensure continuity,” he warned.
“It would be counterproductive if a gap of weeks or months meant the existing network lost funding temporarily and suffered the loss of premises and experienced personnel who are so crucial to SBAS success.
“Business owners, families, clients and the Australian economy, all hope that when the AusIndustry Small Business Team says ‘the first round will be launched in the near future’, that enough time is left for funding to flow by July 1,” he said.
Business Enterprise Centres Australia
BACKGROUND BEC AUSTRALIA INFORMATION FROM www.becaustralia.org.au
Business Enterprise Centres operate throughout all states and territories in Australia endeavouring to work with and on behalf of the micro and small business sectors.
BEC Australia Charter: -
BEC Australia is a not-for-profit organisation whose primary role is to support and grow the national network of Business Enterprise Centres and provide representation on behalf of its members to key stakeholders.
BEC Australia Vision:-
A nationwide network of Business Enterprise Centres that are recognised as the first and best point of contact for small business operators seeking quality business information, advice and guidance.
Jack Hughes, national chairman, BEC Australia
P: 0408 837 032