Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey spoke to small business owners in Brand to understand their concerns and challenges they face in Meadow Springs yesterday.
His visit is part of Liberal candidate for Brand Donna Gordin’s promise to bring as many shadow ministers to the area as possible to have them understand local issues by meeting local people.
Both Ms Gordin and Mr Hockey are from families who run their own small business and understand the perils hard economic times have on small businesses and families.
Mr Hockey told stories of his family experiencing rough times under a Federal Labor government when his whole family, including him and his siblings, having to work to keep the business afloat.
He said businesses are experiencing the same challenges now and shared the concerns local business people have in regards to staying afloat and continuing to support their families while also providing for their customers.
Mr Hockey referred to the restricted trading hours in Western Australia as “bizarre” but said while being here he has seen the same fears in people that the rest of the country is experiencing.
“I have never seen the level of desperation in the community before,” he said.
“People are scared to borrow money and buy a house, upgrade their car or renovate their kitchen.”
He lashed out at the Federal Government’s strategies and said the Liberals could do much better.
“They [Labor] have had five small business managers in five years – could you imagine if your business had that kind of turnover,” he asked.
Not surprising, he said the best way forward was with a Liberal Government with no carbon tax.
According to Mr Hockey businesses are only going to continue struggling under the Labor Government with transport costs set to increase with diesel increasing over the next two years.
Ms Gordin shared Mr Hockey’s concerns and said after talking to small businesses in the area the majority are “just keeping their heads above water”.
“There is a lack of confidence and the cost of living is a big issue.
“Many businesses have the challenge of getting good staff because all extra costs go up.”
She said this impacts their profits and lots of businesses are struggling.
“This impacts their ability to retire and be self-sufficient,” Ms Gordin said.
“A change of government is needed.
“We want to see hope, reward and opportunity.”