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Businesses identify top policy priorities for the Illawarra

Release Date: 10/03/2014
A recent survey of Illawarra Business Chamber (IBC) members shows that businesses want better connections to Sydney, improvements in skills and unemployment rates, and greater local procurement from government agencies.
The IBC launched a survey of its 900 membership base to test views and attitudes of businesses across the Illawarra. Around 160 respondents provided views on infrastructure, government services, energy, procurement and skills and employment.
“The survey confirmed that Illawarra businesses value our policy and advocacy services, they are passionate about addressing the high unemployment rate, and would like to see improved business outcomes from faster transport links to Sydney,” said Ms Debra Murphy, CEO, Illawarra Business Chamber.
There was a clear message in the survey findings that businesses want the government to do more to reduce unemployment, reduce red tape, and increase local procurement.
“Ultimately it is small businesses that create jobs, particularly in the Illawarra, and they are passionate about creating jobs and growing the local economy, there is a strong message from business that government needs to chip in and help to free up the red tape and use their buying power to give business that added boost,” said Ms Murphy.
The recent NSW Business Chamber Business Conditions Survey found that while businesses are increasingly positive about the overall performance of the NSW economy, they remain concerned about their own performance, particularly in relation to rising costs. In the Illawarra 46% reported operating costs had increased over the last quarter of 2013, which compares to only 34% across NSW.
“A prime example locally is the business rates being charged by Wollongong City Council, which are the third highest in the state. With average business rates in Wollongong at almost $9,000, many businesses pay much higher rates than this, and then need to meet the costs of waste services, property taxes and all their other operating costs. When you look at this one example, the claim that the cost of doing business is high, is true and valid,” concluded Ms Murphy.
The IBC will be using the findings of the policy survey to further engage with members on priority policy issues, commission thought leadership research and use the information to develop evidence based submissions and advocacy to government.

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