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Chamber’s petition pushes against tourism tardiness

By Claire Ottaviano

A PETITION signed by representatives of 120 Shire of Mundaring businesses has called on the Council to set aside money in the upcoming budget for economic development and tourism strategies.

The Mundaring Chamber of Commerce petition was tabled by Councillor Toni Burbidge at Tuesday night’s Council meeting.

“We the undersigned representatives of businesses within the Shire of Mundaring say that the Local Government of the Shire of Mundaring has an important role to play in promoting economic development,” the petition said.

“We believe Council has not devised an economic development policy or strategy that either recognises the long-term nature of economic development in the Shire or moves beyond the general statement in the Strategic Community Plan.

“An economic development plan will provide the framework for our long-term growth and prosperity and should reflect Council’s commitment to ensuring the local economy continues to develop sustainably.”

Signed by Mundaring Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Bertola, the petition said tourism was a means of enhancing economic development.

“The State Government has recognised tourism as a priority area and the participation of the Shire in the development of a Hills Tourism Alliance indicates that the Shire also recognises this,” it said.

“Moreover, 54 per cent of Shire residents consulted in preparation of the forthcoming Strategic Community Plan [presented to council at the same meeting] indicated a preparedness for increased rates to be used to develop tourism in the Shire.

“However, Council is yet to devise a strategy to drive long-term actions in this area of economic development.”

In a letter sent to chamber members in February, Mr Bertola said there was a plan but no firm commitment to include funding in the 2021/22 budget.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

During the same meeting, Council also adopted the Shire’s Strategic Community Plan 2020-2030.

In light of the petition’s presentation, Cr Burbidge moved an amendment to include a new strategy in the Strategic Community Plan to “encourage economic development opportunities in the Shire”.

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