Message from the President
The Chamber is in the final stages of putting together a submission to the Mundaring Shire Council in response to its draft Strategic Community Plan [SCP] We are grateful to those members who have made submissions to the Chamber; these will be incorporated into a larger document for submission before the 7th of February deadline.
In May 2019 the peak body for Local Governments in WA, the WA Local Government Association [WALGA] published a Policy Priorities document, A Strategic Approach to Economic Development in Western Australia. Apart from challenging what it saw as a lack of planning, or agency or Ministerial responsibility for economic development, WALGA pointed to what it believed should be the role of Local Government in the economy.
Aside from the obvious facts that local governments employ people, provide services and assets, and buy local services and goods, it is worth noting what WALGA saw as the key themes in regards to local government’s role in economic development:
- Enabling and facilitating – Local Governments should focus on addressing areas of market failure, not competing against businesses
- Economic development activities should form part of a larger, integrated strategy which is aligned to the broader regional context and is linked to a community’s unique competitive advantages
- Collaboration between different levels of Government, business and the community is critical to the success of local economic development initiatives
- Economic development should not be undertaken in isolation – it is a lens for all Local Government activities
- Local Governments should foster a Business friendly environment – encouraging competition and productivity
WALGA, A Strategic Approach to Economic Development in Western Australia, p.20
The Chamber notes and appreciates the work that Shire officers have done with the Chamber. However, there is another, equally important arm of Local Government and that is the Shire Council which is charged with developing policies. Glaringly absent from the policy collection of Council is a policy specifically addressing Economic Development or even Tourism as one of the unique competitive advantages that this Shire area enjoys.
In these regards it has been disappointing that only a handful of Councillors have responded to our invitations to meet with the Chamber to discuss issues relating to the local economy or that we see only that handful at events that the Chamber organises, notwithstanding our standing invitations.
I look forward to seeing you at a future Chamber function.
Patrick Bertola, Chamber President.