05 May Small Business a Critical Component of Local Economies
While small businesses may not generate as much money as large corporations, they are a critical component of and major contributor to the strength of local economies. Small businesses present new employment opportunities and serve as the building blocks of the United States’ largest corporations.
Small businesses contribute to local economies by bringing growth and innovation to the community in which the business is established. Small businesses also help stimulate economic growth by providing employment opportunities to people who may not be employable by larger corporations. Small businesses tend to attract talent who invent new products or implement new solutions for existing ideas. Larger businesses also often benefit from small businesses within the same local community, as many large corporations depend on small businesses for the completion of various business functions through outsourcing.
Small businesses that grow into large businesses often remain in the community in which the business was first established. Having a large corporation headquartered in a community can further help provide employment and stimulate the local
Ms Murphy said the IBC supported efforts to reduce red tape for small business and manage local government efficiently.
“Reform in regional NSW is important but with big geographical areas to be covered, a stronger model of shared service delivery may be more appropriate for some regions,” she said.
Its activities have been guided by the shared will of regional primary producers, value adding businesses and tourism operators who have all recognised the enormous benefits of working together for a common goal under the one banner.
Our residents acknowledge and accept that there may be benefits from a merger with Ashfield and Leichhardt. But they want to stand alone. “I want to grow our smaller communities to create development and employment opportunities within all regions of the council area,” he said.
The state government, in expensive, taxpayer-funded ads, claims the local government reform process now reaching its conclusion is all about better services for our communities. The government has not provided sufficient evidence to support these claims.
I was mayor of North Sydney for 17 years, president of the NSW Local Government Association for six years and president of the Australian Local Government Association for two years. In these roles I’ve seen many amalgamations processes in this state and other states in Australia. I was very supportive of the NSW reform process when it began with a meeting of all mayors in Dubbo more than four years ago. It started as a genuine reform process but it has gone off the rails under Premier Mike Baird and the Minister for Local Government Paul
Let me emphasise I am not against reform of local government. It is desperately needed, particularly in the way councils are funded which is via a method of taxation from the Victorian-era, that is, property taxes. This means wealthy communities like my own are disproportionately well off and poorer communities, particularly in rural and regional areas, are starved of funding.
Precisely because the cost of amalgamations is significant there should be sound, independent, empirical evidence that communities will accrue corresponding financial benefits. According to the government there is such evidence but it is refusing to make the properly detailed report public, which does make you wonder whether the evidence exists
Let me talk about my community. The government is proposing that we amalgamate with the adjoining council, Willoughby. At a packed public meeting recently held to discuss the proposed amalgamation, only three residents spoke in favour and two of those were from Willoughby.
Resident after resident spoke about the unique identity of North Sydney, our extremely low rates (the lowest in Sydney), our large capital resources, our high level of services and the fact that we are only one of three councils in Sydney that mows the verges on the footpaths. And if you think council verge mowing doesn’t matter, I can tell you that when we decided during the global financial crisis to stop mowing, we very quickly reinstated it to avoid being lynched.
Willoughby, on the other hand, has significantly higher rates, a significant debt and different services to North Sydney. And it doesn’t mow its verges!
Put simply there is nothing but pain in this amalgamation for North Sydney residents. We’ll get increased rates and decreased representation.
So why, you might ask, is the state government hell bent on forced amalgamations? In North Sydney’s case, I think it’s blatantly political. Our proud history of genuine independent political representation does not please the Coalition. It sees areas like ours as its territory. And god forbid a strong, independent mayor might challenge one of their blue ribbon Liberal state or federal seats.
I’m not alone in believing the whole amalgamation process is about delivering control of our council (and others) to the Coalition. Why else would the government be proposing to cut in half the 1995 Bluett Award-winning council, Warringah, with half going to Pittwater and the other to Manly. It wouldn’t happen to have something to do with the popular independent mayor of Warringah, would it?
The whole process is disgusting and promotes the strong belief in the community that the political system is about delivering power to the major parties at a cost to our communities. Finally I’d urge you to have a look at the proposal in your council area and if there’s nothing in it for you but pain, write a letter of objection. Don’t let the local be taken out of your council.