A man and woman standing in front of the Wagga Wagga Civic Centre


Partners in growth: Council continues support of city’s Business Chamber

Published: 11 Mar 2022 12:11pm

Council is continuing its collaboration with the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber, which has contributed significantly to the survival and growth of local business and industry over the last two years.

At this week’s Ordinary Council Meeting, Councillors agreed to enter into a six-month interim arrangement with the Business Chamber pending finalisation of a new three-year memorandum of understanding (MOU).

Council will provide $32,500 in funding between January and June 2022, with the new MOU expected to commence in July 2022. Under the original two-year MOU initiated in January 2020, Council provided funding of $130,000.

A man and a woman laughing in front of the Wagga Wagga Civic Centre
BACKING BUSINESS: Council’s Manager City Strategy Chris Barrett with Business Manager Serena Hardwick from the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber. Council has been working with the Business Chamber to help boost local business and industry.

Manager City Strategy Chris Barrett said there were mutual benefits for both the business and wider community through Council’s continued support.

“It’s incredibly important for the future of Wagga to have a strong and united business voice,” Mr Barrett said.

“We’ve seen a significant strengthening in the Business Chamber’s capacity to help individual businesses.

“It has been working closely with the local business community on our behalf, giving businesses a much better understanding of Council’s priorities and policies, which in turn helps businesses progress.

“It’s been a mutually beneficial partnership and we’re happy to see it continue.”

Business Manager Serena Hardwick from the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber said support from Council enables the Chamber to provide more resources for local businesses.

“We can advocate for businesses and connect them to opportunities and services that will assist them,” Ms Hardwick said

“We’re also able to represent the business community in different industry forums, create initiatives and projects such as the Shop Local Wagga Wagga gift card program, and bring additional events to the city to educate and inform the business community.

“I believe that our partnership with Council is essential in making Wagga Wagga a great place and an easy place to do business.”

Mr Barrett said Council would use the next MOU with the Business Chamber to focus on two key priorities; recovery from COVID and building capacity for local businesses to be part of major infrastructure projects in our region.

“While Wagga hasn’t been as hard hit as many other areas, it’s quite clear a lot of businesses have been very challenged by the pandemic and need support from their local business chamber to return to something like normal operations,” Mr Barrett said.

“The other thing we’re very conscious of is the enormous demand on the local workforce and businesses to respond to some of the major infrastructure projects occurring.

“It’s estimated that there will be over $10 billion in major infrastructure projects in and around the city over the next decade.

“For our city to reap the benefits, we really need to have a strong Business Chamber and Council needs to put that seed funding into the Chamber so it can grow and develop and become even more effective as a business voice for Wagga.”