7 June 2004

The Carr Government has delivered a slap in the face for small businesses in rural and regional NSW, Nationals Member for Lismore, Thomas George said today.

Mr George said Sydney Labor announced that 50 Business Enterprise Centres (BEC) would be replaced by 18 centralised offices, is another serious blow for local communities.

"This action is characteristic of this Carr Labor Government who are intent on removing essential services from rural areas and once this infrastructure is removed and disbursed it will never again be assembled in the future to recreate the service," highlighted Thomas George.

"This announcement has resulted from the Carr Labor Government slashing the NSW Regional Development Budget to the tune of $2.5 million dollars next year and then cuts increase to $6 million dollars in the following years.

"In my electorate both Centres, at Lismore and Casino have successfully provided a FREE Business Advisory Service to the North Coast business community over many years," Thomas George stated.

"Every BEC has the infrastructure in place to meet the needs of its own local community and provide the FREE Business Advisory Services to meet contractual arrangements with the State Government. With this successful infrastructure in place - a tremendous amount of knowledge, skills and experience is tied up with the NSW BEC Network.

"The BEC is a catalyst for community based projects are that are responsive to communities needs, it is the first port of call for information to a large number of community organisations and an effective referral point, being a very cost-effective RESOURCE for THE GOVERNMENT," concluded Thomas George.

Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 1800 336 166 or 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403  Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Authorised by Thomas George MP. Funded using Parliamentary entitlements.