COSBOA: Small Businesses are the eyes and ears of our nation
The Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) met with the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department late last year to discuss the nation’s current high security status and the role that small businesses can play in keeping our country safe.
Peter Strong, generic Chief Executive of COSBOA said that the Attorney-General’s office sees the small business community as a key part of our country’s security. Small business people need to be aware of the real threat posed by terrorism, shop and are asked to keep watch for any suspicious behaviour and report it to the relevant authorities
“We don’t want to be alarmist but the real threat posed by terrorism has grown in recent years. As we saw by the tragic event in Sydney late last year, small business people are in a position to be directly affected by terrorism, but they’re also in a position to spot suspicious behaviours and events and help prevent such events” Mr Strong said.
There are over 2 million small business people in Australia, from truck drivers, retailers, hairdressers, farmers, real estate agents, financial advisers, newsagents, café and restaurant owners, wholesalers, contractors, builders, tradespeople and more. Small businesses are found in all areas of our communities and are often the first to notice any changes to local conditions.
Small business has a long history of working with authorities to keep an eye out for potential thieves and felons. They will often be the first to notice any new people, odd business or financial transactions, and purchases of chemicals or other dangerous materials.
“In the end this reinforces my belief that small business people are not just the backbone of the economy but are also integral to our culture, our social cohesion, our well-being, our health and our security” Mr Strong added.
“We are reluctant to “dob” people in – it’s not the Australian way. Sadly times have changed, and our nation is at the highest level of security alert. All of us, not just small business people, have a role to play and must take responsibility for our safety.
“I have discussed this with a sociologist, fellow COSBOA board members, my colleague Kate Carnell, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) as well as an owner of a community pharmacy. We all agree and support the call to small business people to be more aware and prepared to report anything they believe is not right” Mr Strong added.
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National Security Hotline: 1800 1234 00 or visit: www.nationalsecurity.gov.au