Our plan will help small business – the backbone of our economy – thrive in a changing environment


Small businesses are the backbone of the Queensland economy and have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19. They are in every community in every region. They represent over 97 per cent of businesses state wide and employ  42 per cent of all private sector workers. 

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of extreme events and disruptions. While many small businesses have shown their adaptability, the immediate challenges of COVID-19 have been felt in every industry sector, from construction, agriculture, fishing and tourism, to retail, education and health care, and in every local community.

We want small business to come back better than before and will be providing further support for business to increase its capacity to innovate, grow and create more jobs for Queenslanders.

Buying Local

It’s never been more important to buy local.

A key step to recovery will be encouraging customers to show their support for  small businesses by shopping locally.  By doing so, small businesses can grow their business, create local jobs and help their community.

The Queensland Government is also stepping up to support Queensland’s small businesses. We are implementing new measures, like procurement targets and faster payment times, to support more small and medium enterprises to secure work from Queensland Government procurement.

Increasing Skills and Capability

COVID-19 has highlighted that business management capability and digital skills are critically important in connecting Queensland businesses to new opportunities in Australia and  around the world.

While COVID-19 has accelerated many of the transitions already underway in relation to digital technologies, the capabilities and confidence of small businesses to capitalise on these technologies is mixed.

Small businesses will need to be ready to take advantage of opportunities as the economy evolves and successfully innovate and adapt to digital and technological change.

That’s why the Queensland Government wants to see small business build their skills in areas such as financial literacy, cash flow management, marketing, leadership, management and digital.

The Small Business Digital Grants scheme has provided small businesses with access to digital technologies or services so they can work smarter and make the most of online business opportunities arising from digital technologies.

Making Business Easier

Traditional ways of doing business have changed to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. The Queensland Government moved swiftly and implemented regulatory reforms to respond to emerging issues and support innovative business practices, for example allowing licenced venues such as restaurants and cafes to sell takeaway alcohol.

Making it easier to do business in Queensland will not only support our recovery now, but encourage businesses to be more innovative, adaptive and competitive in the longer term.

In doing so, it will be important to take a partnership approach as regulatory reform is a shared issue between state, federal and local governments.

The government is currently consulting on proposed amendments to the planning framework to better support low-risk, economic value-adding uses in appropriate zones. For example, a newsagent changing to a hairdresser, a new warehouse looking to establish in an industrial area, or a rural property owner looking to provide farm stay accommodation.

Action to date

The Queensland Government moved swiftly to provide a range of financial, advisory and targeted assistance to  small-to medium-sized businesses.

A dedicated small business hotline was established to assist small business navigate assistance and to direct small businesses to relevant support and information. This was supported by regional staff across Queensland and regular access to up-to-date information via the Business Queensland website.

We have provided immediate financial support through key programs:

  • $1 billion COVID-19 Jobs Support Loan scheme, which provides concessional loans of up to $250,000 to eligible businesses of which small businesses have been the main recipient (representing 87 per cent  of successful applications)
  • providing up to $950 million in payroll tax relief including refunds, payment holidays and deferrals for eligible businesses as well as a tax exemption for JobKeeper payments
  • $196 million Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grants program is expected to assist up to 20,000 small businesses. It provides eligible business owners and operators up to $10,000 to adapt, pivot and sustain their business. By supporting these businesses, we are helping sustain the jobs of over 200,000 Queenslanders
  • $100 million in electricity bill rebates for eligible small-and medium-sized businesses.

The Queensland Government has also helped businesses build their capability through a range of skills and training programs, most notably:

  • providing free online micro-credentials in areas including digital literacy, as well as free online skill sets in priority industry areas
  • establishing the Queensland Small Business Skills Hub, which provides small businesses and their employees free access to a curated library of around 400 online courses in topics such as Leading a Successful Business, Digital Skills and Foundation Business Skills.

Growing Manufacturing

Queensland manufacturers are entrepreneurial, innovative, and globally recognised. Our well-established industries, highly developed supply chains and globally significant research and development capability make Queensland an attractive place to  do business.

As an industry, manufacturing contributes more than $20 billion a year to the Queensland economy and supports around 165,000 jobs. It reaches across different sectors, different regions and different markets.

From rail manufacturing, food processing, craft brewing, meat processing, aerospace and medicine–manufacturing is both an industry in its own right and a critical strength of Queensland's economy. Manufacturing is also an important part of the supply chain of many industries such as agriculture.

With almost a third of manufacturing taking place in regional Queensland, prioritising this sector will deliver widespread benefits across our state.

Increasingly, economies around the world are pursuing opportunities to harness research and innovation to generate new industries and new jobs. We want to see Queensland industry make and grow more products, add more value to existing products and compete in an increasingly complex world.

Attracting Manufacturers to Queensland

Through the pandemic Queensland's manufacturers stepped up and adapted to meet the challenges of the health crisis, quickly retooling to fill gaps in global supply chains for PPE and other essential products for our front-line workers.

We want to maintain that momentum– encouraging Australian companies to bring back manufacturing done overseas and invest in Queensland.

To do this, we will continue to support the adoption of leading-edge technologies and practices. We’ll also work with manufacturers to place a greater focus on local supply to reduce inputs from overseas and shorten supply chains.

Attracting new businesses to Queensland will continue to strengthen our regional manufacturing base – particularly in agriculture and food processing – creating new and diverse job opportunities across the state.

It also builds Queensland’s supply of  high value goods and services, strengthening our ability to respond  to future pandemics.

Powering Regional Development

The Queensland Government wants to lift productivity and build the international competitiveness of the manufacturing sector and emerging industries by developing growth precincts to attract private investment, streamline approvals and drive growth.

We will foster growth precincts across the state where businesses, workers and technology can come together to build skills and innovate, access new market opportunities, build on the individual strengths of our regions and create jobs. This includes partnering with industry to create dedicated precincts to embrace emerging opportunities, as well as developing next generation regional plans that can support economic growth.

This builds on our existing $13.5 million Manufacturing Hubs Grant Program to grow advanced manufacturing capability in the Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton regions.

Adopting Leading-Edge Technologies and Practices

The manufacturing industry operates in a rapidly changing environment. Embracing new and emerging technologies is vital to improve productivity and competitiveness.