IT’S official. The Small Business Development Corporation is to remain a separate entity.The Machinery of Government Taskforce, put together to try and streamline the public sector, found the WA Tourism Commission and the SBDC were best to continue operating unchanged.Speculation has grown since Labor took Government that the SBDC would be split into another Government department. The WA Department of Training was widely expected to swallow up the SBDC.The SBDC is widely regarded as one of the most successful small business organisations in Australia and many feared it would lose its effectiveness if taken over by a larger government agency.The Government’s announcement that it would begin rationalising agencies did nothing to quell those rumours. However, Small Business Minister Clive Brown said he had heard pleas from the small business and tourism communities to keep the WA Tourism Commission and the SBDC separate.“I put forward a strong view that both agencies had a key role to play in their industry development and they were carrying out that role with a level efficiency that should not be compromised,” Mr Brown said.There also was a cloud over the future of SBDC managing director George Etrelezis, whose contract ended in May.Mr Brown said Mr Etrelezis would remain as managing director of the SBDC and former Department of Commerce and Trade CEO Richard Muirhead would continue as acting WATC CEO.
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