$8.76 million wellbeing package to support small business

Queensland Government media release

A statewide campaign to help small business owners consider their mental wellbeing and raise awareness of the support available to them will start today.

Launching the Queensland Government’s Small Business Wellness Package and campaign, Minister for Small Business and Employment Di Farmer said Mental Health Week was a good time for business owners to stop and consider the impact recent pressures were having on their wellbeing.

“Running a small business can be very rewarding but we know the pandemic produced some unique challenges – and the impacts of the flooding events in February further exacerbated these challenges for business owners in Southern Queensland – this is on top of the stresses of day-to-day life that we all experience,” Minister Farmer said.

“That’s why we’ve launched this package – to ensure vital health and wellbeing support is being provided to small businesses on top of the financial assistance already available.

“The campaign featuring radio, digital and social media advertising, will remind small business owners that they are their business’ greatest asset and will encourage them get the support they need to keep their businesses running smoothly.”

Minister Farmer said the Wellness package would see new wellbeing coaches located in Cairns, Mackay, Townsville, Toowoomba, and North and South Brisbane (six new coaches in total), join the existing state-wide network of over 40 rural, tourism and small business financial counsellors.

“The expanded network of counsellors and coaches will provide free, independent, confidential, one-on-one support to address the stressors and psychological support needs of small business owners,” Minister Farmer said.

The package includes a $3 million Small Business Support Service Fund to assist with alleviating stresses for small business owners.

We are also extending the very successful proactive education program ‘Small Business Smile4Biz’ developed by the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce. We are working with the Queensland Mental Health Commissioner and CCIQ to enable more chambers to activate a ‘Smile 4 Biz’ program to deliver local mental health support that is tailored to their local needs.

Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic said the small business wellness coaches will help business owners identify the source of business challenges and put in place strategies to move forward.

“Getting the right help at the right time will protect small business owners, their businesses and staff from the impacts of stress and even mental illness,” Mr Frkovic said.

“The Queensland Mental Health Commission is contributing $1.21 million to this valuable program to extend the six wellness coaches to three years until 30 June 2025.”

Queensland Small Business Commissioner Maree Adshead said recent research commissioned by Beyond Blue and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) confirms the direct link between financial distress and mental wellbeing.

“The research confirms what small business owners have long suspected – that their mental wellbeing can be significantly affected when they are experiencing financial challenges,” the Commissioner said.

“I encourage any small business owner who is worried about their mental wellbeing to contact a small business wellness coach in their location and get the support they need.”

Created in partnership with the Queensland Mental Health Commission, the Queensland Small Business Commissioner, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, the package is part of the Queensland Government’s $14.5 billion economic recovery plan to keep businesses open and Queenslanders in jobs.

The joint Federal and State Government Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement also provides $800,000 to support three extra coaches in 2022-23, reducing to two coaches in 2023-24 for South East Queensland Local Government Areas impacted in the February 2022 floods.

In all, the package is an investment of $8.76 million in our small business sector and their wellbeing.

To find out more about the Small Business Wellness Package visit www.business.qld.gov.au/wellness or contact the Small Business Hotline 1300 654 687.

More information about Queensland Mental Health Week (8-16 October 2022) can be found at here.

For information on grants and other support for businesses visit the Business Queensland website at www.business.qld.gov.au or call the Small Business Hotline on 1300 654 687.

If you need help now, find a mental health service. Phone triple zero (000) or go to a hospital if you (or someone you know) is in immediate danger.

Call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Beyondblue at 1300 224 636.