FEDERAL Minister for Small Business, Ian McFarlane, toured the Eurobodalla this week to meet with people in small business to discuss local issues with them.

Accompanied by Federal Member for Eden-Monaro, Gary Nairn, Mr McFarlane met with select groups of business operators in Moruya and Batemans Bay to gather information on the issues that concern them.

When asked what the main issues raised at the two meetings were Mr McFarlane replied:

“Transport infrastructure has obviously been raised repeatedly, it is an issue that is primarily at the state’s feet in terms of responsibility, but I can understand the frustrations of small business in this area.”

He said issues of local importance in regards to transport infrastructure were the Princes Highway and Kings Highway.

“[There’s] the possibility of getting the Princes Highway upgraded to a RONI (Road of National Importance), and that’s something that Gary Nairn, the local member has been working hard on,” Mr McFarlane said.

“In the end though it’s a case of whether or not we can get it up in the total national context… it is quite straining for business, because with no rail system and an expensive air system, well, it’s crucially important,” he said.

When asked if he would be supporting the push for the Princes Highway to be declared a Road of National Importance he replied:

“I actually don’t get involved in local electorate issues.”

“But I’ll certainly be making sure the Minister for Transport is made aware of the unique we’ve got down here.”

He said he would be taking the information gathered locally into account and other issues raised with him were unfair dismissal laws, workers compensation and super annuation.

“We’ve tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to get changes to the unfair dismissal laws, but it’s been opposed by the Labour Party and the Democrats.”.

He said people in small business seemed to be settling into the new tax system and should find it easier to fill out their next Business Activity Statement (BAS) because of changes made to the forms.

“Overall I think small business is coming to terms with it basically, and they release that it’s something that’s going to be there for a while, so they are getting on top of it.”

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