darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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December 19, 2013

The Latrobe Valley has had its first visit from a Federal Minister since the September election with Small Business Minister Bruce Billson visiting Traralgon today.

Mr Billson was in the region to meet with management at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) office in Traralgon.

The Minister also urged Gippslanders to do any last minute Christmas shopping locally during a visit to Grow Master Traralgon.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said he was pleased to have Minister Billson in the region.

He said the Traralgon ASIC office was a good example of how decentralisation could benefit a regional community.

“There are around 400 people working at the ASIC office in Traralgon making it an important local employer,” Mr Chester said.

“The office has been in operation since 1991 and in that time a number of families have moved to the region to take up job opportunities.

“I will be pursuing other opportunities for decentralisation which will benefit the entire region.”

During a tour of the recently re-opened Grow Master Traralgon, Mr Billson said regional small business owners face a unique set of challenges in their day to day operations as a result of locality and workforce pool.

“I’m always impressed by the innovative ideas that regional small business owners use to overcome their distance from distributors and a smaller workforce,” Mr Billson said.

“They’re also very resilient and it’s been a tremendous effort by Craig and Debbie Goodman to get their nursery back up and running to an even greater capacity within 12 months of a devastating fire event.”

Mr Billson has reiterated the importance of supporting local small businesses with just five days left before Christmas.

“The Shop Small campaign run over the past two months has been very successful in encouraging people to support local small businesses but it’s important that as we do our last minute gift buying ahead of Christmas we continue to support them,” Mr Billson said.

“I’d encourage anyone looking for a last minute gift to visit a local store where owners like Craig and Debbie are more than happy to assist you in finding exactly what you need.”

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