Canberra small business operators were confronted at Parliament House last night (tue) by a show of bipartisanship from federal MPs.

A large group of parliamentarians put aside their differences to offer a new avenue for micro and small businesses to air their complaints.

The occasion was the launch of the Parliamentary Friends for Small Business group, attended by Small Business Minister Brendan O’Connor and his Opposition counterpart, Bruce Billson.

The group was convened by Labor’s Gai Brodtmann, the Member for Canberra, and Scott Buchholz, the Coalition Member for Wright in Queensland.

Ms Brodtmann said, as a former micro business operator, she understood the challenges facing the sector, particularly in Canberra.

‘‘Our group will getting together with micro and small businesses to hear about their stories of success and innovation and also the potential challenges they face, and to discuss in a bipartisan way what we can do about addressing that,’’ she said.

‘‘This is another way to ensure that small and micro businesses have the ear of Members of Parliament and Senators.

‘‘For Canberra’s micro and small businesses, the priority is access to government procurement.

‘‘My objective is ensuring the tendering and procurement processes are as open to as many businesses as possible.

‘‘Small business plays a crucial and central role in the Australian economy.

‘‘There are over two million small businesses in Australia and they employ almost five million Australians, and small business contributes more than 20 per cent of Australia’s GDP.’’

Mr Buchholz said he was keen to help small business find new and innovative ways to grow.

‘‘The positive growth and development of small business has a flow on effect for local communities and this is vital for the Australian economy,’’ he said.

Representatives from the ACT Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Council of Small Business Australia were attending the event.