Families 'out of business' if council asks for property rent
THE head of an incubator which has helped more than one dozen small businesses says his program could close if the Ipswich City Council increases commercial rent rates.
About 12 small businesses operate from 14 sheds within the Ipswich Business Enterprise Centre on Turley St.
The property is owned by the council and allows businesses to establish and become sustainable.
Low rent is paid to the Business Enterprise Centre, which manages the site, but no rent is paid to the council.
Centre manager Michael Crowley said the council notified him in March that it would ask for commercial rates from the site.
He said businesses would not be able to pay full commercial rent - which would double the existing rates.
"You're putting 12 family businesses out of business overnight," he said.
A spokesman for the council said the enterprise centre was given three options, including to pay low rent and prove the enterprise centre's benefit.
He said the council was waiting for a submission from Mr Crowley about the future of the centre.
Mr Crowley said the council asked him to prove the business centre's benefit to the community but did not explain how he should document its success.
"We cost council nothing - we survive and we're very small," he said.
The business manager questioned why the council had allocated $500,000 to Fire Station 101 but did not invest in his hands-on business incubator.
"I feel like that's not fair," he said.
"How come you've got nothing for a group of people who are producing jobs?"
Along with coaching tenants of the property, each Monday Mr Crowley provides advice free of charge to small businesses.
"If any other Ipswich businesses want to come up and discuss issues, then they can come in," he said.