News Parliament


The spirit of enterprise is alive and well in the Calare electorate. Today, I would like to mention just a few of the many successful small businesses in our region. They are vital to regional communities, and I am particularly proud of those that are operating in our electorate. There are some two million small businesses in Australia providing employment to around 4.8 million people, and, having owned and operated a small business myself, I am only too aware of their importance. This is particularly so to our rural and regional communities.

Firstly, to PJL: in 2006, three young local guys, Phil Wilkin, Joel Spagnolo and Luke Buckland, needed a place to modify a dump truck they had purchased at auction. An empty shed on Luke's property in Molong was soon found, and the PJL story began. From those humble beginnings, the PJL group today employs more than 250 people and operates right across Australia. It operates from four permanent sites 24 hours a day, providing specialty services to the mining, earthmoving, drilling and construction industries. It was a great pleasure to join the three founders recently—and they are all still good mates—at the PJL family fun day to mark their 10-year anniversary. It was an opportunity for Phil, Joel and Luke to thank their many employees and their families for their support, but it also raised important awareness and fundraising for men's mental health. It is an amazing local success story.

Another amazing local success story is Angus Barrett Saddlery. Also known as 'the next RM Williams', Angus Barrett has been doing leather work and selling his handmade goods in Orange and around Australia, and indeed internationally, since 1986. Throughout school and work, Angus has always been making something with his hands.

After many years working across Australia on farms and cattle stations and in mines and drilling camps, Angus settled in Orange with a plan to start his own manufacturing business, and in 2000 he registered Angus Barrett Saddlery. In 2010, he and his wife Sarah opened their first flagship store and just a few weeks ago opened their first standalone retail centre in Summer Street, Orange. It is very impressive, to say the least. In an age where many have decried the death of manufacturing, Angus and Sarah have proved that there is a future for local manufacturing in the Orange area. I have to confess that I am wearing an Angus Barrett belt as I deliver this speech to the House today.

Besides Angus Barrett Saddlery and their wonderful success story, we also have Fastway Couriers. I recently attended the launch of the Fastway Couriers business in the Orange region. Its new owners and operators are Mike and Karen Andrew. Karen is the former CEO of community housing provider, Housing Plus. That is a multi-million dollar concern in itself. At the recent launch at Orange's Botanic Gardens, a number of Fastway executives were in attendance, including its chief executive officer. Given Karen's experience with Housing Plus and her great contribution to the region, we know that Fastway Couriers is going to be a tremendous success. Well done, Karen and Mike. We also congratulate all of their subcontractors who are going to be working with them, also operating their small business in conjunction with Fastway.

Coleman's Equipment was established in Orange by Mark Coleman and is a family-owned and operated business supplying water-carting services, service trucks, earthmoving services and the sale of earthmoving equipment. Since its inception, Coleman's Equipment has continued to expand both in size and the range of services that it offers. It prides itself as being a business that maintains a close working relationship with its clients. Its aim is not to be the biggest but to be the best. This is achieved through an exclusive worldwide network of partnerships, with Mark often travelling overseas to personally inspect equipment prior to purchase and ensuring the final product that is delivered to the client meets high and exacting standards. Mark has over 16 years in the industry, from management positions with a Caterpillar dealer through to asset management in both underground and surface mining operations. Mark is ably assisted by his father Chris, and I congratulate Chris as well. It is a family business based in Orange but it is global in its reach.

I congratulate all of Calare's small business operations and operators. They are truly the engine room of our economy. They personify the spirit of enterprise, and I will always and support advocate on their behalf.