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The Queensland Small Business Advisory Council (QSBAC) is the voice of small business in Queensland. The members of QSBAC provide advice on issues and opportunities affecting small business to the Honourable Di Farmer MP, Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development.
Council membership reflects the breadth and depth of small business in Queensland, with members coming from a wide range of industries and locations. Membership also represents a balance of voices from women in business, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business, culturally and linguistically diverse business and social enterprise.
The Council will meet 4 times per year, including in regional locations.
The Honourable Di Farmer MP, Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development (Chair)
The Honourable Di Farmer MP is the Minister for Employment and Small Business, Minister for Training and Skills Development, and serves as Member for Bulimba on Brisbane's Southside.
She has also held the position of Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence. Prior to becoming a minister in the Palaszczuk Labor Government, she was Deputy Speaker of the Queensland Parliament.
After starting her working life as a speech pathologist, Di pursued a career in both the public and private sectors, where she held a range of senior management positions. This included establishing her own consultancy business specialising in strategic communications.
The issues Di addresses in her portfolio are very close to her heart and she is thrilled that she can travel around Queensland engaging with small businesses so the government can best tailor its support to their needs.
Queensland is home to more than 448,000 small businesses that are at the core of every industry sector. They are in every community in every region, represent over 97% of businesses statewide, and employ approximately 44% of all private sector workers. Di is passionate about small business being front and centre of the Queensland Government's plans for economic recovery.
Mr Gerard Byrne, Townsville Consulting Services, Townsville
Gerard is a multi-award-winning business growth specialist and the owner of Townsville Consulting Services. He consults to SMEs and NFPs across varying industries in business planning, business resilience and continuity planning, marketing, digital technology, and social media.
Over the last 2 years, Gerard has been assisting small businesses impacted by COVID-19 to access services, pivot their businesses and become more resilient. He's a highly regarded and longstanding mentor in the Queensland Government's Mentoring for Growth program and a member of the Mentors Cyber Security Working Group.
For his work in supporting small businesses, especially following natural disasters, Gerard has received a Queensland Premier's Award, Prime Minister's Leadership Award, and a CPA Australia's President's Award. He is also an in-demand sessional lecturer in James Cook University's MBA program.
Ms Tiffany English, Modus Operandi, Hawthorne
For over 15 years, Tiffany has built and expanded businesses with a focus on operations and strategy. Specialising in trades, construction and professional services, Tiffany held a number of executive management roles, before jumping into the world of business ownership. With a passion in business improvement, Tiffany recognises the need to implement good software and hire the right team.
Tiffany founded Modus Operandi, a consultancy that has gone on to support hundreds of small to large trades businesses streamline and automate, creating efficiencies and in turn, improving profits. She is also the co-founder and CEO of Access Offshoring, an organisation that is changing the way we recruit and retain accounting and administrative roles in Australia.
She serves as the Chair of LoveWell, a not-for-profit and social enterprise dedicated to supporting vulnerable women to regain the confidence and skills necessary to re-enter the workforce or start new businesses. She is also a director of Droplets in a Stream, a not-for-profit creating sustainable support models for vulnerable children in Africa.
Ms Sarah Graham-Hooper, La Vida Restaurant and Privato, Noosa Heads
Sarah has over 35 years' experience in hospitality businesses in Australia and overseas. Sarah is the co-owner, front of house manager and marketing manager of La Vida Restaurant and Privato in Noosa.
Following a 4-night break in Noosa from their busy restaurant in Launceston, Tasmania, Sarah and her partner purchased La Vida and made the move to Queensland 4 weeks later. They have been synonymous with Tasmanian hospitality for over 30 years, and value the support offered from their community through what was a tough first 18 months in Queensland.
Sarah is passionate about the hospitality industry and the importance of creating unity and positivity in her local community, especially following the 2019 bushfires, COVID-19 pandemic, and 2022 floods in Noosa.
Sarah is an active member of the Queensland Restaurant Caterers Association, Tourism Noosa and Hastings Street Committee.
Mr Laurie Johansen, RPS Fire, Barmaryee (near Yeppoon)
For over 16 years, Laurie has been operating businesses in the construction and services industries. This includes 5 years as a sole trader, and experience in the agriculture and mining industries.
Laurie is passionate about using the latest technology to run and automate his small fire protection business, RPS Fire. He is a strong believer in small business owners getting access to the right advice and is a strong advocate for start-up businesses receiving quality training and mentoring.
Laurie's business allows him to connect with all types of businesses and to hear about the issues facing small businesses in Central Queensland. Laurie offers advice and support to new businesses and young entrepreneurs and is a member of the Central Queensland Regional Community Forum. Laurie has been a passionate volunteer at his local Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club for the past 14 years, including as Club Captain.
Dr Dipak Paudyal, APAC Geospatial, Brisbane CBD
Dipak is the Founder, Managing Director and Chief Scientist at APAC Geospatial. Dipak is an experienced, innovative and trusted adviser with hands on experience in remote sensing, image processing and strategic consulting for successfully delivering enterprise wide digital and cultural transformation in area of Earth observation.
Dipak has a PhD in remote sensing, is a Fellow of Surveying and Spatial Science Institute (SSSI) and is an Adjunct Associate Professor with University of Queensland. Dipak has authored several papers and published several blog posts on the use of machine/deep learning/AI for geospatial applications
Dipak strives to contribute to the development of innovative business approaches in space-based industries and sees opportunities for Queensland small businesses to play a strong role in this emerging field.
Ms Jennifer Qin, Cool Cartons, Carrara
Jennifer is the co-owner of Cool Cartons – a national cold logistic management company that can deliver food to 95% of the Australian population.
Cool Cartons supports small to medium sized clients to sell products into broader markets through holistic freight offering including local deliveries, line haul by the carton and by pallets, perishable air freight, warehousing, and pick and pack services. Powered by a sophisticated online booking and tracking system and an Australian-based support team, the company provides immediate quoting, booking, payment, online tracking and POD services that provides smooth and efficient user experience. The company also concentrates on helping regional businesses through a special consolidated delivery service.
With a background as an experienced chartered accountant and business adviser working with a diverse range of small to medium business clients, Jennifer not only understands the challenges and struggles small business owners face every day, but also the keys to success.
Mr Murray Saylor, Tagai Management Consultants, Greater Brisbane area
Murray is a proud Samsep man from Erub (Darnley Island) located in the Eastern Islands of the Torres Strait, with over 20 years' experience working in the mining sector and in government leadership roles. Murray brings a culture-based methodology to supporting Indigenous businesses and a wealth of knowledge in procurement/supply chain management, successful growth strategies and innovative solutions.
Murray is the founder and Managing Director of Tagai Management Consultants, an award-winning family-owned company specialising in procurement/supply chain, business advisory, community development and innovative futures services within Australia and the Asia/Pacific region. As Managing Director, Murray oversees the company's strategy, performance and service delivery.
Murray is an Australian Defence Medal recipient and multi-award winner, including the Queensland Government Community Engagement Award and an Advance Queensland Scholarship recipient. Murray is a member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) governing Council.
Mr Tony Sharp, Substation33, Kingston
Tony is the founder of Substation33, a social enterprise that provides meaningful work and skills development to its workers. The enterprise creates employment pathways for vulnerable job seekers through recycling electronic waste.
Tony oversees the daily operations at Substation33, which diverts waste from landfill and delivers digital devices to disadvantaged people in the local community. His passion is to create sustainable social enterprises that create opportunities for people to work in a supportive environment as they develop required skills and behaviours.
Tony is the founder and Chair of the Social Enterprise Network Logan, past Director of the Queensland Social Enterprise Council and Secretary for INNOV8 Logan. Between 2018 and 2020 Tony was the Social Entrepreneur in Residence at the Griffith University Yunus Centre.
Ms Alison Shaw, Tambo Teddies, Tambo
Alison co-owns and manages Tambo Teddies, creating hand-crafted sheep skin teddy bears in the middle of the outback, to customers all over the world. Alison has identified innovative solutions that have driven the business forward. In partnership with Multicultural Development Australia, she opened a regional sewing hub for Tambo Teddies in Toowoomba, employing members of the local migrant communities to help increase production to meet demand, and provide important employment opportunities.
Tambo Teddies won the inaugural Regional Australia Institute and Google's Regional Online Hero Award in 2015 and the Queensland Government Multicultural Award for Small Business in 2019.
On top of her small business experience, Alison has a diverse background in economic development, the arts and tourism at local government level. Alison is the Principal and founder of The Right Grant, offering specialist submission and grant writing services. Alison has worked to support businesses in remote regions by identifying funding opportunities and assisting time-poor businesses to complete submissions.
Ms Petina Tieman, Complete Business Solutions (QLD) Pty Ltd, iiHub Ltd, Cairns
Petina is a proud Indigenous woman who has lived and worked in remote communities providing training, mentoring and business development services. Petina owns and operates businesses providing support to small businesses including Complete Business Solutions (QLD) Pty Ltd and iiHub Ltd (a not-for-profit start up incubator hub). Petina is a multiple award winner, a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders, and mentors through the Queensland Government Mentoring for Growth program.
Petina's background includes 18 years working in the education and training industry (including as CEO of a registered training organisation), operating a compliance auditing and consultancy business and developing over 300 learning modules.
She volunteers over 15 hours per week to assist Far North Queensland Indigenous people through her professional services consultancy business. Petina is a strong advocate for women's leadership and gender equality and co-founded a women's business networking group. Throughout her career, Petina has served on many committees and boards driving equality and addressing skills gaps.
Ms Dominique Lamb, Queensland Small Business Commissioner (Ex-officio member)
Dominique Lamb commenced as Queensland's Small Business Commissioner on December 23, 2022.
Previously Dominique was the CEO of the National Retail Association and Director of NRA Legal and has extensive experience providing industrial relations and employment law advice to a range of small, medium and large businesses across a range of industries. Dominique is also a Chair on the Retail Doctor Group Advisory Board, and Board Member on the Bleu Australia Advisory Board.
As the CEO of the National Retail Association, Dominique played an integral role by liaising and advocating on behalf of retailers at a Federal and State Government level on all areas of policy which affect retail businesses both large and small, including but not limited to technical standards, product safety, industrial relations, loss prevention, city planning and infrastructure.
Ms Heidi Cooper, Chief Executive Officer, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (Ex-officio member)
Heidi Cooper is the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ). Heidi has dedicated her career to the advancement of business and is a passionate advocate for the strategic growth of Queensland.
With over 20 years' experience in law, corporate affairs and policy making, Heidi has successfully driven strategies for major companies with strong growth agendas and significant customer and community relationships. She has specialised in leading sustainable business initiatives with a key focus on economic growth, job creation, education, sustainability and community engagement.
Heidi has worked across a diverse range of industries and has held board positions and senior roles in infrastructure, energy, education and training, agriculture, and not-for-profit sectors. She is also a member of the Jobs Queensland Board and the Brisbane Festival Giving Committee.
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Better Regulation Taskforce
The Council previously established the former Better Regulation Taskforce as a sub-committee to provide advice on opportunities to improve regulation for small business in Queensland.