Awards axing slammed

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Geoff VivianMidwest Times
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Member for North West Central Vince Catania takes a swipe at “Metro Mark” and “Perth Papalia” for axing the Regional Small Business Awards.
Camera IconMember for North West Central Vince Catania takes a swipe at “Metro Mark” and “Perth Papalia” for axing the Regional Small Business Awards. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr Pilbara News

Member for North West and Nationals small business spokesman Vince Catania is blaming Premier Mark McGowan and Small Business Minister Paul Papalia for axing the WA Regional Small Business Awards.

“Metro Mark and Perth Papalia are clearly focused on pumping money into the city while disguising cuts to regional development as budget saving measures,” Mr Catania said.

Minister Papalia was quick to retort.

“It’s a bit rich coming from Vic Park Vince who has spent most of his life in the city, when both the Premier and I were born and raised in the country,” Mr Papalia said.

“It was the former Liberal-National Government that removed funding for the WA Regional Small Business Awards from its forward estimates.”

Mr Papalia said as a former small business owner, he recognised the crucial role it played.

“I have asked the Small Business Development Corporation Commissioner to investigate the opportunity to develop a State-wide award that brings together and celebrates both metropolitan and regional small businesses,” he said.

Mr Catania said awareness of the diversity, success and innovation celebrated in regional small business would dwindle now the Labor Government had left the awards “belly up”.

“Deserting such an important event that brings the successes of regionally based small business to the fore is another example of Mark McGowan’s ignorance toward the value of regional development,” he said.

“The Nationals fully support ongoing business development in our regions, which is why we funded this annual gala event through Royalties for Regions.”

Mr Catania said at least 90 businesses from his electorate had been involved in the awards since their inception 15 years ago.

“Small business is the lifeblood of many regional economies, with 54,000 of them operating in remote, rural and regional Western Australia,” he said.

“Small business accounts for nearly half of private sector employment and make up 43 per cent of all goods exported from WA.

“Why the economic contribution and employment opportunities created by the small business sector isn’t supported and celebrated by the Labor Government leaves me questioning whether they value the State’s economy at all.”

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