For businesses in regional or rural areas finding staff can be an impossible task.

As the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, points out no amount of advertising or word of mouth is going to fill a vacancy in the bush.

She said legislation put forward around the skilled migration scheme is just another blow to small business.

Commenting on a Senate Committee report released this month, Carnell said increasing the cost of temporary migration for work visas will add to the angst already involved in the complex and time-consuming process of securing a suitable worker.

“We know that small businesses contribute significantly to the training of their own workforce and are more than happy to do this,” Carnell said.

“However, in some businesses and some areas, no amount of advertising is going to fill a vacancy.

“This is when employers look to what is probably the last resort for them, which is getting skilled workers from overseas.

“We are disappointed that this new legislation increases costs, timeframes and red tape.

“Under the proposed legislation, business owners will have to pay an upfront training levy of up to $8,000, spend around 80 hours filling out paperwork and then wait between seven to nine months for this to be processed.”

Carnell is also working to try and secure more public sector contracts for small business.

In Australia, about $100 billion is spent annually on procurement by federal, state and local government.

"The percentage of small businesses securing these contracts has been steadily declining over the past three years and we need to do something about that," she said.

"It is really important that small businesses get their fair share of government work. We believe that 30 per cent of the total value of government procurement is a reasonable target, which is similar to the UK target."

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