As we head into April, I'm excited to share with you some highlights from the past month.

March was a month of celebration and empowerment as we marked Queensland Women’s Week and International Women’s Day on 8 March. I was privileged to connect with women from different backgrounds including chamber members, small business owners, aspiring young leaders from high schools, and commercial property owners and investors. Hearing their stories and experiences was truly inspiring—it showed how investing in female-led businesses can be highly rewarding. 

Following the recent state-wide local government elections, we’re excited to continue collaborating with the 48 councils participating in the QSBC’s Small Business Friendly Program (SBF program) - more are welcome to join! We look forward to engaging with the newly elected mayors once they have settled into their roles.

The inaugural Small Business Friendly Awards 2024 are now open for nominations from local councils that are SBF Program members. These awards recognise the outstanding contributions of members to the SBF Program and their dedication to improving the small business environment in their region. I’ll be announcing the winners at the annual Small Business Friendly Conference during Queensland Small Business Month in May.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Australian Alternative Dispute Resolution Awards in Sydney with Peter Maddock, Director of Assistance. I’m proud to announce that we won the Award for Alternative Dispute Resolution Group of the Year (Ombudsman and Commissions). A special shout-out to the Assistance team for their hard work alongside our panel of expert mediators helping small business resolve disputes. Be sure to explore our series of fact sheets on common dispute topics and practical tips.

I’ve been busy recording the first few episodes of our brand-new QSBC podcast. I interviewed some inspiring small business innovators, founders, and operators. Stay tuned for the podcast launch in mid-May—I can’t wait for you to tune in and share your feedback.

I will be presenting at the following event: 
If you are new to our newsletter or want to learn more about our services, resources, initiatives, and projects, visit the QSBC website. If you need more information, call us on 1300 312 344 or submit an enquiry.

Main photo: I proudly accepted the Award for Alternative Dispute Resolution Group of the Year (Ombudsman and Commissions) award. 
Queensland Small Business Commissioner
Lease agreements often require tenants to provide security, such as cash bonds or bank guarantees. Disputes over bond returns or disputed claims on bank guarantees are among the most common issues we hear about. Understanding the rules for commercial and retail bonds can help avoid disputes. Here's what you need to know:
  • In Queensland, there's no legislative requirement for a specific manner of holding lease security or for registering it with a government body or solicitor.
  • The value of the security is not regulated by legislation, which allows flexibility in lease agreements.
  • Unlike residential tenancies, there's no set timeframe in legislation for the return of a commercial lease security.
  • In disputes over bond or guarantees, the lease agreement is the primary source of law.
We offer mediation services for these disputes, but often parties resolve them independently with information about how commercial and retail bond returns are governed. 

You might find our Security for Lease factsheet useful. If you still need help to resolve a business dispute relating to a commercial leasing matter, contact us today.  
As a proud Small Business Friendly member, the Banana Shire Council is spearheading local economic growth through a groundbreaking partnership with the AUKUS Forum. This historic collaboration marks the first-ever membership agreement between a local government body and the AUKUS Forum, symbolising a shared commitment to unlocking opportunities and showcasing the region's capabilities to global partners.

Mayor Cr Nev Ferrier highlighted the partnership's benefits for local businesses, emphasising its potential to drive innovation, attract investment, and foster sustainable economic growth within the Shire.

Photo caption: Banana Shire Council Mayor, Cr Nev Ferrier with AUKUS Forum founder, Michael Sharpe.
We know that late payments and non-payments disproportionately impact small businesses—compared to larger businesses, they are less likely to have the cash reserves to offset missing payments relying on timely cash flow to maintain operations and solvency.

We recently made a submission and spoke at a Parliamentary Committee hearing on some proposed amendments to the Trust Account Framework (the Framework), which aim to improve security of payment for the construction industry (the largest small business industry in Queensland).

This was a great opportunity to share small business concerns about the complexity of the Framework; the incompatibility of mainstream accounting software; and the cost of engaging registered auditors.

We are pleased to see the proposed amendments seek to provide clarity and help streamline the operation of the Framework, and believe the amendments are a positive step in addressing concerns from small businesses in the construction sector.
A registered trade mark can be used to protect anything that identifies your business such as a brand name, logo, distinctive phrase, letter, number, colour, sound, smell, shape, picture, movement, or aspect of packaging. 

Registering your trade mark gives you:
  • a business asset: the more successful your business becomes, the more valuable your trade mark becomes.
  • the legal right to use the ® symbol next to your trade mark
  • exclusive rights to use your trade mark in Australia.
  • a legal avenue to stop others using your trade mark.
  • the ability to sell your trade mark or license it to others for a fee.

IP Australia’s free TM Checker tool makes it easier to check if a business name, phrase, or logo trade mark can be registered. An initial check only takes a few minutes, then you can use the tool to apply from $330.

Workforce Evolve is a self-paced program designed to help employers think differently about who they hire and how to retain them in the future. Access six self-paced learning modules, a library of free resources and book in a personalised business coaching session. 

The Injury Prevention and Management Program is a free program designed to help Queensland businesses develop and implement sustainable health, safety, and injury management systems. It is available to any Queensland employer with a WorkCover Queensland policy regardless of size or business maturity. Sole traders who are not insured through WorkCover Queensland may also be eligible. has a collection of resources to help you learn about your industry's legal, operational, and business requirements including relevant laws, licences and permits as well as workplace health and safety and food safety. 

It is aimed at Queensland-based small to medium businesses to commercialise highly innovative and new products or services at minimum viable product stage or beyond. Applications close at 11 am, 8 April 2024.

It is aimed at organisations planning the delivery of existing business support initiatives, or modified business support initiatives to address barriers and increase the participation of female founders. Grants from $50,000 to $200,000 are available. Applications close at 11 am, 15 April 2024.

It is aimed at Queensland innovation-driven enterprises to progress the development of an innovative product or service closer to market. Funding between $50,000 and $75,000 is available for successful applicants, with a matched funding contribution required. Applications close at 11 am, 22 April 2024.

It is aimed at Queensland tourism operators, not-for-profit organisations, and local governments to deliver new and enhanced tourism infrastructure or experiences with matched financial support of between $1 million and $4 million (ex GST) on eligible project costs. Applications close on 29 April 2024.

It is aimed at innovative female-founded businesses undertaking an early-stage capital raise with new investors. The fund is open until all funds have been allocated.

It is aimed at small and medium enterprises undertaking commercialisation and growth projects within the National Reconstruction Fund priority areas of resources, agriculture, transport, medical science, low-emission tech, and defence. Grants range from $50,000 to $5 million in value. Applications can be made at any time


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