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$24 MILLION TO FUND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FROM NSW SMALL BUSINESSES

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$24 MILLION TO FUND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FROM NSW SMALL BUSINESSES
$24 MILLION TO FUND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FROM NSW SMALL BUSINESSES

$24 MILLION TO FUND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FROM NSW SMALL BUSINESSES

The NSW Government today launched a new initiative for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), which will receive $24 million in funding over its first two years.
The establishment of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program was the first Priority Action recommended in the Turning Ideas into Jobs – Accelerating Research & Development in NSW Action Plan, launched by Premier Gladys Berejiklian on 25 January 2021.

“The Action Plan stressed the increasing need to be proactive in supporting and attracting new businesses, especially in future industries that will sustain economic growth, productivity and employment,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“The SBIR program will provide competitive grants for SMEs to find and commercialise innovative solutions to NSW Government agencies for five well-defined problems”.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier Gabrielle Upton MP encouraged business to get involved.

“The program will tackle important challenges including assisting vision-impaired customers navigate the public transport network, increasing the resilience of regional and remote communications networks, quantify the number and extent of koalas in NSW, reduce contamination in wastewater and reducing PPE waste in the health system,” Ms Upton said.

“The SBIR program will not only support NSW SMEs to develop innovative solutions to government challenges, but the challenges have been specifically chosen to ensure that the successful SMEs can also sell their solutions to other customers in local and international markets.”

David Gonski AC, Chair of the Advisory Council of eminent leaders who guided the NSW Action Plan, welcomed the SBIR program launch.

“The impact of COVID-19 on economic growth and job creation makes the task to commercialise more R&D an urgent one,” Mr Gonski said.
“Rapidly translating ideas into new products and services will be integral to our recovery from the pandemic.”

The NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte said research and development was the key to delivering problem solving solutions.
“Like the Medical Devices Fund and Physical Sciences Fund, the SBIR program is an excellent example of the NSW Government’s commitment to leverage the capacity of SMEs’ NSW-based R&D to address the state’s most pressing problems and provide solutions which deliver a social, environmental, health or economic benefit,” Professor Durrant-Whyte said.

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NSW Premier refuses to meet collectively with mayors of 12 COVID-hit communities

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QR codes, masks and tests please

NSW Premier refuses to meet collectively with mayors of 12 COVID-hit communities

The NSW Premier has refused to meet collectively with mayors in the 12 local government areas (LGAs) hardest hit by COVID-19 to discuss the devastating impacts of the State’s health orders on their communities.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott asked Premier Gladys Berejiklian on August 16 to meet with LGNSW and the affected community leaders, as well as the Minister for Health and the Police Commissioner, but this week the Premier declined to take the meeting.

“The Premier says she wants to hear the voices of local communities and is willing to meet with community leaders but has rejected this opportunity to meet collectively with the 12 mayors working night and day through the impacts of the current outbreak,” Cr Scott said.

“I’m surprised the Premier would reject such a golden opportunity to build consensus in facing down this very real threat to the well-being of our most vulnerable communities. These leaders are willing to set aside the time, but the Premier seems unwilling.

“The Premier’s rejection of our request actually breaches the commitment made in the Intergovernmental Agreement, which the Premier signed on behalf of State Government and I signed on behalf of local government in October 2019.

“In this agreement, the Premier promised to consult with LGNSW and our sector before any significant policy decisions were made and to work with us to achieve positive outcomes for our communities. But on this occasion it has not happened.”

Cr Scott rejected suggestions her public disappointment with the Premier’s response was politically motivated.

“The 12 affected local government areas have mayors and councillors of every political stripe, including Liberal, Labor and Independents,” she said.

“This is a bipartisan attempt to work better together for NSW communities that need our support. There’s never been a more crucial time for all elected leaders to put aside any political differences and work together.”

Cr Scott said LGNSW would continue to push for the collective meeting on behalf of the mayors in affected communities.

“I am continuing to call on the Premier to honour her Government’s commitment to work with us as equals and meet these 12 mayors and councillors who are working so hard to support our communities and are feeling ignored,” she said.

“Mayors and councillors are continuing to provide effective and meaningful leadership to support our communities through droughts, floods, bushfires and COVID. They are on the frontlines of this battle, getting calls from anxious community members on a daily basis.

“The NSW Government should be working with us to lead our communities out of these dark times rather than ignoring something as simple and potentially beneficial as a collective, sit-down online discussion.

“I hope the Premier reconsiders and accepts our offer soon.”

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NSW LABOR CALLS ON THE GOVERNMENT TO PRIORITISE SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT

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NSW LABOR CALLS ON THE GOVERNMENT TO PRIORITISE SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT

NSW Labor is calling on the Government to prioritise the coordination of financial support for small businesses impacted by the Greater Sydney lockdown with reports that over half of the 130,000 businesses who have applied, yet to receive a single cent.

The NSW Government has repeatedly assured businesses that they would be supported through this crisis with payments for businesses suffering a downturn of 30 per cent or more. Despite these promises many small businesses have been left waiting as the Government has been unable to manage the demand for support.

NSW Labor leader Chris Minns said so many small businesses have made massive sacrifices to keep our community safe, but many are hanging on a knife’s edge with huge losses of income and reduced cash flow.

“We are six weeks into lockdown and many small businesses are yet to receive the financial support that was promised to them. It’s unacceptable. Small businesses are the lifeblood of the NSW economy with support lagging, there will be many businesses who will find it difficult to recover,” Mr Minns said.

“These are real people trying to keep their businesses afloat. Every day that support is delayed is a day closer to more businesses being unable to recover once this lockdown ends – people’s livelihoods are at stake.

Shadow Minister for Small Business Steve Kamper said, “We really are asking a lot of small businesses to keep the community safe. The least we can do is ensure the proper financial support is available and flowing fast.

“Support is needed now – there is too much at stake, for individuals, families, communities and the state’s economy,” Mr Kamper said.

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Business News

BYRON BUSINESSES RALLY BEHIND LOCAL BUYING CAMPAIGN AS TOURIST TRADE SLUMPS

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BYRON BUSINESSES RALLY BEHIND LOCAL BUYING CAMPAIGN AS TOURIST TRADE SLUMPS
BYRON BUSINESSES RALLY BEHIND LOCAL BUYING CAMPAIGN AS TOURIST TRADE SLUMPS

BYRON BUSINESSES RALLY BEHIND LOCAL BUYING CAMPAIGN AS TOURIST TRADE SLUMPS

By Margaret Dekker

A group of Byron Bay traders met last Friday to discuss a slump in trade in the iconic tourist town due to plummeting tourist numbers and foot traffic.

Katie Munro from clothing label Arnhem told The Northern Rivers Times talk is rife among traders about concerns over in-store sales falling across an array of businesses in the community.  In her conversations with other local businesses there are reports of revenue dropping by as much as 60 percent.

“People were buying last year, but with fear and the ongoing uncertainty about the virus, this year buying habits have shifted to what is essential,” Katie Munro said.

“And there’s no one in town,” she said.

The irony of the situation, Katie says, is while Byron Shire property prices are booming and millions of dollars are being injected into real estate, the big spending is not being replicated in local tills.

And despite mounting requests from shop tenants, commercial landlords are firmly refusing rent relief on Byron Bay shopfronts which can average around $2,000 a week on the premium strips.

In a united effort to stem the engulfing tide, Byron Bay retailers and restaurateurs have begun a new ‘Love for Locals’ campaign, rewarding shoppers from the Shire with experiences and store discounts, and special offers and deals between traders.  ‘Love for Locals’ is being pitched at old and new ‘Byronians’ in an effort to “get the town going again.”

“.. Conversations have started around buying local, not giving our dollar to big multinational companies .. We can make an impact if we stop and consider every little spending decision we make,” Katie Munro said.

With news late last week of virus fragments detected in Byron Bay wastewater, and a new alert over a COVID-19 positive person landing in Ballina from Sydney on July 14, the mood has shifted again with Byron Bay last weekend likened to ‘a Ghost Town.’

But Katie Munro says there is also energy and optimism stirring as traders collaborate with other local businesses and begin embedding new behaviours with a focus on supporting local; to move from ‘struggling’ to surviving and thriving ‘during these strange times.’

“Conversations have started. There’s a movement, momentum among local traders, we can get through this again.” Katie Munro said.

 

 

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