Emotions run high at lunch

Brendan O’Connor and Steve Muir have a chat.
Brendan O’Connor and Steve Muir have a chat. Contributed

TEARS, laughter, anger, smiles and frustration - this definitely wasn't your average business lunch.

The climate facing small businesses in Grafton is anything but average at the moment and emotions were running high when about 50 local business leaders met with Minister for Small Business, Brendan O'Connor at a lunch time meeting at the Grafton District Services Club.

Mr O'Connor was invited to Grafton by Page MP Janelle Saffin to get a feel for the local economy and the issues facing small business, and local business-owners weren't shy in giving a blunt assessment of the situation.

An emotional Spiro Notaras - owner of the J. Notaras and Sons Sawmill - fought to hold back tears when he told Mr O'Connor about the uncertain future of his family business with projected cost increases through the carbon price and fuel tax making the mill less and less viable.

Grafton Shoppingworld manager Greg Hayes said inflexible penalty rate requirements in the Fair Work Act meant many small businesses in his complex and the rest of the town could not actually afford to open their doors on Sundays.

Steve Muir who operates a micro-business manufacturing carbon fibre kayak paddles said he was struggling to compete with online sellers overseas who were able to sell similar products to consumers GST-free.

Manager of the Northern NSW Business Council John Murray thanked Mr O'Connor for hearing the concerns of those present.

Topics:  brendan o'connor emotions

Smooth sailing: Olympian's winning return from surgery

DAY JOB: At the biggest sewing machine in Australia sailor Andrew Landenberger designs and makes sails underneath his Grafton home.

Former Olympic sailor returns to competition after three years.

Aladdin's cave of sinkers provides riches for charity

LEAD LIGHT: Lower Coldstream resident David Gibson has been raising big bucks for charity selling his range of home-made sinkers and bait buckets to local anglers.

Numerous charities have benefited from not-for-profit fishing tackle

Fisher who exploited Indonesian fishing crew fined $48,000

An Indonesian fishing crew has been underpaid almost $50,000.

Tuna fishing company fined almost $50,000 for underpaying crew

Local Partners

Owen rewarded for 52 years of dedication

90-YEAR-OLD Grafton Rotarian Owen Stockdale honoured with life membership after dedicating more than 50 years to the community organisation.

Calliope turns into caravan city for country muster

A small part of the caravan city at Wendy Gordon's Calliope property for the Clarence Valley Country Music Muster.

Four years ago Calliope resident Wendy Gordon had a vision ...

Tea party with the 'Queen'

TRADITION: 1955 Jacaranda Queen Stella Wilson sits with reigning 2015 Jacaranda Queen Charlotte White at last year's Jacaranda Afternoon Tea.

Meet the royal patyu in style

Making steps for 'Blacky' in Walk 4 Brain Cancer

Grafton locals are doing a Walk 4 Brain Cancer in Sydney for Robert Black.

Team Blacky aims to better $5000 to battle brain cancer.

Blake Lively hosts 40th party for Ryan Reynolds

Blake Lively throws husband Ryan Reynold's 40th birthday bash

What's on the big screen this week

Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from the movie Doctor Strange.

MARVEL'S latest superhero Doctor Strange makes his debut.

Trump 'worked like hell' to pick up John Travolta's wife

John Travolta and Kelly Preston

Trump wrote comments in tribute to Travolta's son Jett

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E11 - top three battle it out

The Bachelorette finalists, from left, Matty Johnson, Lee Elliott and Jake Ellis.

It's Matty, Lee or Jake. Who will Georgia choose?

Jake left broken-hearted by Bachelorette break-up

Jake Ellis is one of the final three bachelors on The Bachelorette.

GEORGIA chooses Lee and Matty J as her final two suitors.

MOVIE REVIEW: Doctor Strange is out there in a good way

Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from the movie Doctor Strange.

MARVEL'S new superhero takes viewers along on his mind trip.

Unique riverfront home sells for almost $1M

SOLD: Ray White real estate agent Alan Bruchert has just put a new sticker on Maclean's most expensive house to sell in a decade.

Maclean's highest house sale this decade

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June