Zali Steggall MP speaks on the pressures facing small business

7 August 2023


Today I rise to speak about the situation facing small businesses in Warringah and Australia more generally. Australia lost so many small businesses during the three years of COVID, and many surviving businesses only just made it through those difficult times. After COVID, many businesses were expecting a recovery. However, most have been so badly affected by rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis that it is harder for them now than it was even during COVID. Accountants and insolvency experts in Warringah have warned me that they have never seen so many small businesses going under.

We must recognise how important small businesses are to Australia's economy and to the local communities. From an economic perspective, small businesses make up 97.5 per cent of all businesses in Australia. In Warringah alone, there are over 8,000 small businesses. From 2020-21, over five million Australians were employed by small businesses, and small businesses contributed to 33 per cent of Australia's total GDP. They are the backbone of our communities and our economy. Our local cafes, shops and restaurants are focal points for community gatherings. Small businesses include childcare providers, GPs, local accountants, butchers, bakers, hairdressers and sports coaches. They also include innovators and start-ups. They have the potential to make great changes in our country.