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ASBFEO welcomes Labor's commitment to boost local SME investment

The ASBFEO has welcomed Labor’s announcement of plans to boost investment in local small to medium enterprises (SMEs) by ensuring they get a better share of government contracts.

ASBFEO welcomes Labor's commitment to boost local SME investment
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Labor announced on Monday that it will promote local jobs by requiring companies bidding on government contracts to demonstrate opportunities for local businesses.

Under Labor's plan, bidders for projects valued over $10 million will be required to develop a local jobs plan, while also nominating on-the-ground contacts to engage with local small and medium businesses.

"This is great news for the small business sector, considering the percentage of government procurement by SMEs has declined over the past four years," the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, said earlier this week.

"Small businesses tell us every day they don’t want handouts; they want work. A commitment by the Labor Party to ensure that SMEs get their fair share of work is a step in the right direction."

She added that the challenge for Labor is to have a target of real work for SMEs, not just paperclips and catering.

"It’s important that government work allows SMEs to innovate and grow their business," Ms Carnell explained.

"The experience to date is that unless governments regularly audit contracts to ensure large companies and multinationals have delivered on their promise to engage small business, it regularly doesn’t happen."

While the ASBFEO supports the requirements in the Plan for Local Jobs, Ms Carnell judged that Labor will need to ensure "big businesses don’t ‘screw’ SMEs in the supply chain by reducing the amount paid to small businesses and lengthening payment times".

"SMEs are the engine room of Australia’s economy; where jobs are created and we are pleased to see Labor recognising this," Ms Carnell concluded.

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