“I often lamented publicly, in the days of the former Rudd and Gillard (and Rudd again) Governments, that the Small Business portfolio was treated too much like a temporary stepping stone on the way to securing a “real” portfolio.
“That “stepping stone mind set” ceased the day Bruce Bilson became Minister.
“Whether it was on the floor of the Parliament, in front of the television cameras, or indeed out in the regions talking to real small business owners, Bruce’s enthusiasm and passion for this sector could never be questioned.
“He knew that being the Small Business Minister was an honour, but also a responsibility.
“That responsibility led him to ensuring the most recent Federal Budget was the most ‘Small Business Friendly’ on record.
“Bruce was a great supporter of the Australian Chamber movement's Small Business: Too Big To Ignore campaign prior to the last Federal Election.
“Not even his political rivals could question his passion and enthusiasm for issues that impacted on the ability of a small business owner to open their doors every day.
“In fact, just last week I was privileged to host a luncheon in Sydney attended by small business owners who wanted to thank Bruce for what he did for them during his time as Minister.
“The overriding message from the small business community was that Bruce genuinely cared about the 2 million SME’s and their 7 million employees who were directly impacted by his portfolio – and that’s not often said about politicians.
“I join with the rest of the Australian community in sincerely thanking him for his public service and I wish him all the best with whatever is next for him and his family,” Mr Cartwright said.