Business Friendly Coucils Pilot Hits Lismore

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The Northern Rivers – NSW Business Chamber has welcomed the NSW Government’s piloting of its proposal for a ‘Small Business Friendly’ certification program for local councils to encourage them to be more responsive to small businesses.

The pilot program, in partnership with the Office of the Small Business Commissioner, will be trialled in Parramatta City Council along with Boorowa, Tenterfield and Lismore representing regional and rural councils.

The Small Business Friendly Councils pilot will:

• Develop a ‘Small Business Friendly Charter’ outlining key principles for becoming ‘Small Business Friendly’;

• Provide a diagnostic evaluation tool to assist Councils to identify their strengths and weaknesses in becoming ‘Small Business Friendly’;

• Provide a tier recognition system for Councils to recognise their efforts in engaging with their small business community.

“This initiative, that the NSW Business Chamber has put forward to the NSW Government and the Small Business Commissioner, is about getting Local Councils to be a helpful partner to their small business communities, rather than a hindrance,” said John Murray, Northern Rivers NSW Business Chamber.

“Local Councils have frequently topped the NSW Business Chamber’s annual Red Tape Survey as generating the biggest red tape burden for small businesses – beating even the Australian Tax Office!

“Local Councils have an important role to play in supporting the success and growth of small businesses but what we find is a disjointed experience for our members depending on which Local Council area they are located in.

“In fact, the NSW Business Chamber has had firsthand experience of the how Councils can vary in their approach to regulation during the Chamber’s recent tour of NSW with the Southern Hemisphere’s largest mobile billboard, the SkyBoard. We visited over 60 locations and had responses from Councils that demonstrated a wide range of requirements to approve the same activity. From ‘send me an email’ to ‘submit a full DA’.

“I commend the Small Business Minister, Katrina Hodgkinson, and the Small Business Commissioner, Yasmin King, for embracing this initiative. I also commend the Lismore City Council through their CEO Gary Murphy for accepting to be a Pilot Council. This project was born in the Northern Rivers and to have Lismore City Council on board in these early stages is most pleasing!” Mr Murray said.

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