Hidden value of small businesses revealed

The praises of Millicent businessman Sukhi Dhaliwal have recently been sung in State Parliament by Labor MLC Clare Scriven.

The Deputy Opposition Leader has told the Legislative Council of the warm-hearted actions of the Indian immigrant. Ms Scriven said Sukhi is the proprietor of the New Heaven Indian restaurant in George Street and is now also part owner and manager of the nearby Millicent IGA supermarket.

“He often talks of his gratitude to the people of the local area for their support and love since he moved to Millicent, and he now wants to give back to the community,” Ms Scriven said. “So he is providing free meals for people in need. “On Mondays each week people can go into the IGA building and pick up pre-prepared meals without charge. Ingredients are donated by IGA and New Heaven, and Sukhi and his team prepare the meals.

“The fridge is in a public area, so people who need a free meal do not need to approach anyone or feel self-conscious. “I am told that about 30 meals were provided in the first week. That has now risen to a regular amount of around 60 meals every week. “Sukhi says that, as the free service has become more known, it has really highlighted how many people there are in need in the region.

“He knows there may be a few people who take a meal who do not really need a free dinner, but he says that is much better than not providing a dinner for those who do need it.”

According to Ms Scriven, the New Heaven and Millicent IGA initiative also highlights the importance of small business in regional towns such as Millicent. “Sukhi saw a need, saw the opportunity to help and made it happen, yet the Millicent IGA is one of the businesses being put at risk by the Marshall Liberal government’s insistence on total deregulation of shop trading hours,” she said.

“Sixty per cent of the Millicent IGA turnover comes from Sunday trading because Woolworths in Millicent cannot open on that day, and it is well known locally that one of the two independent supermarkets will be forced to close if Sunday trading changes. “What this government needs to realise is there are ramifications for local communities when small businesses are forced out.

“Small businesses invest in their local neighbourhoods. “Small businesses have their profits go to other local small businesses; they do not go to the big multinationals. “They support other small businesses and back their local communities, as Sukhi is doing.”

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