Free trade should not be jeopardised by supporting small business

Wednesday 2 August, 2017 | By: Kate Whittle | Tags: trade, free trade, small business, Kate Whittle

For more than 5 years, CCIQ has lobbied all governments for improved access to procurement opportunities for Queensland’s small businesses.

We’ve also lobbied big business to open up their projects to Queensland businesses across all tiers and scales.

So as an organisation we wholeheartedly support the Queensland Government’s Procurement Policy 2017 as it will ensure that businesses in our State will have a better chance of winning a share of the $14bn government procurement pie.

Will it mean that every contract will be awarded to a Queensland business? No.
Will it stop contracts being awarded to interstate or overseas entities? No.

What the policy does is add a weighting to businesses located within 125km of the origin of a government project.
It is not a guarantee.
It is not a license to win business.

It is a common sense approach to government procurement that will see Queensland’s smaller businesses have a more level playing field when competing for projects.

To our mind, this policy should not jeopardise international or national trade agreements. It does not prevent contracts being awarded to entities from New Zealand. It does not prevent businesses from any Australian state and territory winning business from the Queensland Government. It simply gives businesses who employ, pay their taxes and create wealth in Queensland an improved chance of competing for and winning work. The benefits to Queensland, our regions and our society of a successful small business community are well documented and must be supported.

Philosophically, CCIQ supports the twin notions of small government and free and liberalised trade markets as the best possible foundations for economic growth. This includes support of all and every free trade agreement Australia has in place with its international economic partners. The Chamber unequivocally supports all efforts that go to tariff reduction, and any policies that provide greater opportunities for Queensland exporters to tap into international supply chains. We also support any platform that leads to ongoing engagement with our international economic partners, and actively engage in the ongoing promotion of international economic cooperation.

But at the same time, we unequivocally support the needs of Queensland’s small and medium businesses. And time after time they tell us that they want Queensland Government projects to be delivered by Queensland businesses who employ Queenslanders the length and breadth of the state.

We believe that the Queensland Governments Procurement Policy achieves this goal, and providing the Queensland Government has done their due diligence will not jeopardise the relationship and opportunities businesses have to continue to work with our closest trading partners.

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