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SBDC hopes for life with Labor

THE Small Business Development Corporation’s future could be in doubt under the new WA Labor Government.

Small business fears are growing that the SBDC will disappear if it is folded into the WA Department of Training as part of Labor’s promise to cull government departments.

Ironically, the SBDC was a Labor Government creation. It is widely lauded as Australia’s best small business support organisation.

WA Retailers Association CEO Martin Dempsey said the SBDC would certainly be looked at differently by the Labor Government.

“There is a proposal floating around of merging it with WADoT,” Mr Dempsey said.

“It will be a decision between (small business spokesman) Clive Brown and (training spokesman) John Kobelke.

“If the small business side of the equation comes up with, and controls, the merger it will be good for small business.

“But we need more direct assist-ance rather than more bureaucracy and training is fairly bureau-

cratic.”

Combined Small Business Association president Oliver Moon said a merger would be the ruination of the SBDC.

“If the Labor Government is going to emasculate the SBDC, it will become a nothing,” Mr Moon said.

“And the SBDC is the only link small business has with government. I think it has done a very good job and getting rid of it will cast small business into the wasteland.

“Training is the biggest absorber of public funds going around. It is an enormously bureaucratic machine and one wonders how it justifies itself. Training has already shown it has not one iota of understanding of small business’ training needs.

“I think Gallop and his mavericks will be like bulls in a China shop and I’m very worried for small business.

“But in all fairness we have to try and be positive and see what happens.”

A spokesman for Premier Geoff Gallop said a small business policy would be announced later..

SBDC managing director George Etrelezis said he was of the view of wait and see what the Gallop Government decides in the future.

“The only formal document we can draw some conclusions from is Labor’s small business direction statement that outlines a continuing role for the SBDC,” Mr Etrelezis said.

“We’re prepared for a role to deliver services to small businesses in terms of the new government’s small business policy.”

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