Queensland Small Business Commissioner Maree Adshead with Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio

Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) is open to business – large and small.

Six months after signing the Small Business Friendly Councils (SBFC) Charter, Mayor Paul Antonio said Council was meeting the SBFC Charter commitments.

“Almost 98% of businesses registered in our Region are small businesses so it’s crucial we focus on how best we can support them,” Mayor Antonio said.

“With the first round of reporting having now taken place, it’s pleasing to see that Council already had a small business focus. With the SBFC commitment in place we can expect to see a more concerted effort over the coming years across multiple sections of Council that are business facing.

“When Council first signed up there was only one other local government organisation involved. There are now 18 Councils across Queensland who have signed which shows the support for this Charter across the State.

“We realise there is a fine balance to be achieved between operating the organisation in accordance with our legislative requirements, meeting the broader community’s expectations and supporting our business community. We look forward to working with the Small Business Commissioner, and other SBFC Councils to identify and share best practice in this space.

“With the report on the first six months now complete, I’m pleased to see the progress which has been made to support small businesses.”

Some of the achievements to date include:

  • Funding provided through the Community Economic Development Grant Program for two township level buy local programs in Crows Nest and Oakey
  • Funded the delivery of Build a Better Business Workshops and Digital Marketing Mentoring Program targeted to small businesses in the Toowoomba Region
  • Operated the Creative CBD Toowoomba Program Trial
  • VendorPanel Marketplace implemented to enable local businesses to more easily register as potential suppliers to Council
  • Partnered with the Queensland Government to establish the Toowoomba Region Business Launchpad to make starting new residential construction and food and beverage businesses easier
  • Partnered with the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce and Southern Queensland Country Tourism to create a range of promotional videos that highlight small businesses in the Toowoomba CBD
  • Implemented four development incentive schemes that can provide a significant discount to infrastructure charges related to targeted development types and locations that reduce costs of establishing new premises.

“In addition to this, our local supplier spend has increased from 57% in the 2020 financial year to 64% so far this financial year,” Mayor Antonio said.

“While it’s pleasing to see the progress which has been made so far, we know it’s important to maintain this focus moving forward.”

Council noted the achievements detailed in the Small Business Friendly Councils – October 2021 Report at the Economic Development Committee on 13 October 2021. The report will now go to the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 19 October for endorsement.