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Regional local governments focus on small business

Three of Western Australia’s regional local governments are making a difference to their small business communities by joining the SBDC’s Small Business Friendly Local Governments initiative.

The City of Albany, the Shire of Murray and the Shire of Harvey have formalised their small business friendly approach by signing the SBDC’s Small Business Friendly Local Governments charter, taking the total membership of the program to 49 local governments, representing three quarters (74.27 per cent) of WA’s small businesses.

The City of Albany

Located in WA’s Great Southern region, the historic City of Albany is not only a popular tourist destination but an economic hub for the local region. More than 3,300 small businesses provide essential products and services to the local and surrounding communities. The largest industry groups for small businesses in Albany include agriculture, forestry and fishing; construction; and rental, hiring and real estate services.

The City has committed to local small business by offering good customer service, reducing red tape, making on-time payments and having a dispute-resolution process. It will also focus on enhancing relationships with existing business entities, engaging neighbouring local governments on common interest initiatives and promoting Albany’s small businesses where possible.

CEO Andrew Sharpe said, “We learnt last year that roughly 70 cents of every dollar spent at a local Albany business stays in the community so with that in mind, signing this Small Business Friendly Local Government Charter was a no-brainer.”

“Our small business industry is highly valued by the City as we know they help to build a vibrant economy, provide our community with goods and services and create employment opportunities.

“The impact of our purchasing decision to a small business is felt long after the customer leaves the store and we want to make sure they have the support they need from the City to thrive.”

The Shire of Murray

The Shire of Murray is located in the Peel region, approximately an hour south of Perth. It includes the major towns of Dwellingup and Pinjarra. With more than 1,000 small businesses, the Shire’s largest industry groups are construction; agriculture, forestry and fishing and rental, hiring and real estate services.

Under its commitments, the Shire will implement its Buy Local Preference Policy; support a small business incubator, start-up spaces and maker spaces; offer businesses innovation vouchers to support agricultural start-ups and research and development initiatives in connection with the WA Food Innovation Precinct. Other areas of focus include implementing an Economic Development Strategy; continuing to support its place-making town teams and establishing destination marketing brands for its major towns.

The Shire of Harvey

In the south west of WA, approximately 140km south of Perth, the Shire of Harvey is one of the state’s fastest growing local government areas. The Shire includes the towns of Australind, Binningup, Harvey and Yarloop. Major industries for small businesses in the Shire of Harvey include agriculture, forestry and fishing; construction and rental, hiring and real estate services. There are more than 1,500 small businesses operating throughout the Shire.

In joining the Small Business Friendly Local Governments initiative, the local government has committed to implementing the Shire of Harvey Economic Development Strategy 2020-2025, paying all invoices within 30 days, and fostering communication and engagement with the local small business community. They will also create a new Business section on its website to make information readily available, and ensure it has a small business disputes process included in its complaints policy.

Small Business Friendly is growing

Small Business Friendly Local Governments is growing, with the initiative now including 49 WA local governments from around the state. In addition to this initiative, the SBDC is also working with 20 local government authorities until 2022 to streamline small business approvals processes, through the Small Business Friendly Approvals Program.

Find out more about the Small Business Friendly Local Governments initiative, and whether your LGA has signed the charter.

Images courtesy: Tourism Western Australia and City of Albany

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