The Whyalla Chamber of Commerce thanks the community for supporting local businesses in 2013 and we all look very much forward to serving the people of Whyalla better in 2014, said the Chamber’s Vice President, Mr Ron Hay.
The strength of local business in my view is their ability to provide face to face service, thus making sure that the customer’s choice is the right fit, colour and product for them, in addition to providing information, such as refund policies and warranty, which ultimately delivers a complete positive shopping experience for the customer, unlike many online sites.
The above I might add are a significant part of the Chambers Business of the Month criteria and it is on this basis that awards are judged from nominations sent in by the public, said Mr Hay.
The Chamber again thanks the Whyalla community for their support and welcomes these nominations and the associated feedback, so that we may look to strengthen how the business community serves the Whyalla consumer, thus creating a platform for strong support and the growth of Whyalla.
The State Election is nearly on our doorstep and two main issues that business is keen to explore with the State Government and the State Opposition and their candidates are “what are the forecasts for the economic future for South Australia and how are they going to work with the Chamber and business in Whyalla to grow”.
Mr Hay said, this could include an examination of the costs and support of opening, running and growing a business and how are they going to decrease the costs of living so that the retail sector can expand through greater sales, hence providing the ability to employ more people within our community.
The Whyalla Chamber is an ‘apolitical’ organization, which means we do not align our self with or support any particular political organization, which allows us to have a more open view on how we operate as an advocate for the business community, on issues that impact on business and our membership.
Our affiliation with Business SA is another positive outcome for the Chamber and ensures we have a voice at a higher level of Government, said Mr Hay, which further strengthens our position as the advocate for local business.
A major concern is the cost of doing business. Rising fixed costs like insurance, water and electricity and other influencing factors such as, the lack of skilled workers, difficulty in some cases to access finance to start a business, exchange rates, interest rates, accounting practices, tax regulation (and keeping up with these), marketing, management, cash flow and online shopping, all contribute to the cost of doing business and flow on effects from there, said Mr Hay.
If we are to see regional communities like ours grow, we need to have the right factors in place to encourage businesses to consider not only South Australia as a base, but more specifically Whyalla, thus creating population growth, diversity of industry and employment, appropriate infrastructure, which in turn will promote economic growth, sustainability and longevity of our community, said Mr Hay.
We have witnessed times when there is uncertainty about the expansion of sectors of the mining industry, which does lead to businesses not committing to Whyalla, but it is fair to say, that the States future growth will come from the regional areas mainly through minerals and mining, agriculture and aquaculture and therefore the fast tracking of major projects is imperative, along with assistance for infrastructure needs in this region, thus adding value to the State’s revenue (GDP).
It is with this in mind said Mr Hay, that the Chamber will be also looking to gain an understanding of each party’s commitment to Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula as well as how they will work with the Chamber.
For example the first question would be, ‘what is their (each party and their candidates) level of commitment to Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula and in particular, their stance on ongoing funding, beyond the expiration of the current funding deed’?
RDA Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula currently employs people to directly work with our businesses, attract and retain business and have a more strategic ‘big picture’ view of the area they represent. They are what we call, ‘the door to Whyalla’ said Mr Hay.
Secondly, we (the Chamber) are also keen to understand, how they (each party and their candidates), will work with us to maintain and grow small business which in turn will bring an overall benefit to both the business sector and the community as a whole.
Mr Hay said, for Whyalla to grow in a number of ways, it is imperative that as a Chamber and a community, we have a good understanding of what future opportunities may be secured or developed, for long term outcomes and benefit.