Small business owners can use a free hotline and on-line support to cope with the effects of the gas explosion at Varanus Island, Small Business Minister Margaret Quirk announced today.
Ms Quirk said the direct and indirect effects of gas shortages had had an ongoing, adverse effect on many small businesses.
Small business centres in metropolitan and regional areas had advised that a number of businesses in their local areas were experiencing problems.
“A Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA survey of members has also indicated that the incident is having a significant effect on Western Australian businesses and the economy,” the Minister said.
“A number of businesses have scaled back operations and stood down staff and I understand that many small businesses will be affected by increased costs passed on by suppliers and a drop in consumer spending.
“I would encourage all small business owners affected by the current situation to take advantage of the free service set up through the Small Business Development Corporation.
“The SBDC has a team of experienced business advisers who can assist small business operators to deal with these situations.
“Large companies shutting down their operations and laying off workers could mean fewer consumer dollars circulating to local small businesses, particularly in regional towns.
“Taking advantage of the new hotline and on-line support can lessen the impact of changes to businesses in these current circumstances.”
Ms Quirk said a priority schedule, recently developed for the allocation of the limited energy resources, was based on the need to protect the health, safety and property of the community, minimise broad community disruption and minimise economic impact.
Other energy avenues were being sourced to free up gas for industry. These included the use of coal-fired power plants and the additional supply of diesel fuel.
The Minister said the freecall hotline - 1800 199 125 - was open Monday to Friday between 8.15am and 5.15pm and people could access online support at http://www.sbdc.com.au
Minister's office 9213 7000