IT MAY not be a full-blown debate but the local federal election candidates will face the Griffith community this month to answer some hard questions.
Griffith Business Chamber is organising a question-and-answer session to discuss small business and the role the local member will play in improving its future in the city.
The session will be run from a stage in front of a giant skyboard – the largest billboard in the southern hemisphere – promoting the “Small business: Too big to ignore” message being spruiked across the country.
All seven Riverina candidates will be invited to participate.
“We will be voicing our frustration, as small business people, at being treated very poorly by the government for an extended period,” chamber president Paul Pierotti said.
“Small business employs 7 million people in Australia and we are sick to death of being ignored.
“We will invite all candidates here for an open forum for the public to ask directly what they are going to do to address the direct concerns of Griffith businesses.”
The session will be held on August 28, starting at 5.30pm in the Griffith Visitor Centre car park.
The Area News contacted the candidates to ask whether they would attend – and all agreed.
“I will come along for it – small business is something we are really concerned about,” Australia First candidate Lorraine Sharp said.
Paul Funnell, who is running under the Democratic Labor Party’s banner, believes there was scope for a number of public discussions before the election.
“I would like a Q&A session before August 28 and I would like to have two or three of them,” he said.
“It’s not that I’m a great orator or that I have all the answers but here in the Riverina we have had decades of being ignored and this is the only way to get the message out that it doesn’t have to be the case any longer.”
Palmer United Party candidate Lex Stewart said he couldn’t be kept away from the session “by a team of wild horses”.