The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA) has marked WA Small Business Day with a spirited discussion at the annual Small Business Summit.
This year, attendees spoke about a ‘hidden reality’ for small businesses, whose challenges of increased costs and workplace relations complexity is concealed by WA’s sound headline economic figures. Several were scaling down the size of their workforce, hamstrung by rising operating and labour costs, skills and workforce shortages, and the price of measures to retain workers.
Attendees highlighting the imperative to ‘carve out’ small business from proposals for sector-wide bargaining and other aspects of workplace law, agreeing that it would be “nonsensical” for them to bargain in common.
“WA’s SME community provides three in every five private sector jobs in WA,” said Nicolle Jenkins, CCIWA President and co-founder of Small Business Matters. “They are the heart of WA communities and the heartland of CCIWA membership. Yet it’s a sector whose unique pressures are often overlooked.”
“They strive to comply with the complexity of awards, workplace relations, industrial relations, compliance and regulation, and to do right by their customers, their workers and the business. But they have least resources to do that, and the tightest margins. Members here today have expressed that Australia’s system is not geared towards their success.”
“CCIWA especially recognises the unique challenge, entrepreneurial spirit, and contribution of small business. More than 90% of CCIWA members are small businesses and we have a proud history of small business owners founding and leading our organisation.”
“Small businesses comprise every sector and every region of this state and they fuel our economy”, said Ms Jenkins. “Forums like this are one of the ways CCIWA amplifies the contribution of small business, who otherwise wonder; “how can I get my voice heard?””
With small businesses twice as likely to be reporting poor conditions for the operation of their business, CCIWA welcomed the practical discussion on how to make conditions more conducive. These strengthen CCIWA advocacy. Small Business Matters and CCIWA urge all Western Australians to support local WA small businesses as they look to their Christmas shopping.
To conclude the Small Business Summit, CCIWA expressed optimism and faith in the fundamentals of WA’s economy.