Dear Business Owner,
In order to pursue our desire for Council to develop a Business Development Policy and a Tourism Strategy I propose to put to Councils next meeting a petition seeking a commitment from Council to fund the development of both in the coming budget.
Such funding will enable development of both in the year 2020/21. Implementation would then take place in the financial year 2021/22 at the latest.
At present there is a plan but no firm commitment to include funding in the 2021/22 budget which would mean a further delay in implementation.
Cases for both have been developed by Shire Officers and our Executive Officer.
In a WA Local Government Association document published in May 2019 [A Strategic Approach to Economic Development in Western Australia], the Association noted:
Local Government authorities are tasked with bringing together a disparate range of State Government policy directions and sources of funding as a means of crafting their own local area economic development strategy.[p.2]
In a supporting document, Local Economic Development, it notes:
Strategic Alignment: Local level economic development strategy has a clearly defined role within a given Local Government’s overarching strategic framework. It also aligns with Federal, State and broader regional policy priorities. [p.6]
Given the absence of such a strategy and the comments over a number of annual iterations of the Shire Strategic Community Plan about thriving businesses, I would argue that it is time Council exercised its capacity to do something about redressing its longstanding tardiness in doing anything about an economic development policy and a tourism strategy.
In respect of the latter, the Shire CEO has articulated a view that tourism is only a minor employer (and therefore, by definition, a minor component in the local economy) behind the Shire itself and education. However, in the absence of significant population growth, it remains one of the few areas with a capacity for growth. Moreover, the lack of a local strategy seems incomprehensible when the Shire is in discussions with neighbouring local government areas to establish a Hills Tourism Alliance.
My proposal is for the following:
Weds 26/2 – circulate a form of petition to members by email.
Weds 4/3 – collect forms and collate
Thurs 5/3 – deliver petition to the Shire office for attention of the CEO in preparation for Council meeting on 10/3
Tues 10/3 – Cr Burbidge has agreed to present the petition to Council.
As to the logistics of collecting completed forms, I will sort this out between now and Wednesday and let you know the most effective way to do all this. We are hoping as many businesses as possible will sign the petition, including both Chamber members and non-members. We will let you know where you can go to sign as soon as we have this in place.
If you have any queries you can phone me on 0428 316 271 or email me at email@example.com