More than 90 per cent of Western Australia’s small business owners surveyed believe they have so far remained unaffected by the gas crisis, but almost half believe they will be affected in future.
The results of a survey sent to 5600 WA proprietors by the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) also highlighted the lack of contingency planning in the small business sector.
Small Business Minister Margaret Quirk said today the current gas shortage was set to continue for some time and it was vital people realised the need to conserve energy.
“Many think this is a gas shortage and therefore has nothing to do with them because they use electricity as their power source,” Ms Quirk said.
“What many don’t realise is that gas is used to generate our electricity. Every bit of electricity saved can help the State manage the gas shortage more effectively.
“Using less electricity reduces the costs associated with using more expensive forms of power generation, such as diesel fuel.”
The Minister urged all small business owners to put in place contingency plans to cover:
· staff management and retention issues;
· increased costs of energy;
· inability to supply products;
· cuts to production/disruption to supply of raw materials; and
· cash flow/credit control.
Ms Quirk urged business owners to follow the following steps which could help them in developing contingency plans:
· contact an experienced business adviser at the Small Business Development Corporation via the freecall number 1800 199 125;
· contact one of the 26 Small Business Centres, on 131 BIZ; or
· contact the EnergySmart line on 1300 790 158.
The Minister said the results of the SBDC survey showed that 89 per cent of respondents - which included young and also home-based small business owners - had no contingency plans to deal with the crisis.
“The State Government is listening to the community and has put in place measures to help the public through this difficult period,” she said.
“I urge all small business owners to take advantage of available facilities, such as free hotlines, to help them minimise the difficulties they currently face because of the gas shortage.”
Ms Quirk said the survey showed only seven per cent of respondents believed the gas crisis had already affected them.
However, the survey also showed more than 40 per cent of respondents believed they would be affected by the current gas shortage in the future.
Minister's office - 9213 7000