Local Leaders | Southern Highland Chamber of Commerce: Businesses band together for action

Businesses from across the Southern Highlands and from many industry groups have joined together and demonstrated solidarity in identifying a number of issues that are causing roadblocks to business and economic growth in the Southern Highlands. 

Steve Horton

Steve Horton

Over the past 12 months the Southern Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry has received a number of enquiries about why business development applications have taken so long to process. Businesses have also made comment on how difficult it is to deal with sections of the local council.

All of these issues culminated three weeks ago when the chamber was contacted by the Food and Wine Association and informed they were having some issues with the approval of a Development Application they had with the Wingecarribee Shire Council. This application was to hold two festivals in the township of Berrima, The Food and Wine Festival on the long weekend in October and The Beer and Cider Festival in February 2019. 

The chamber made contact with the executive director of Illawarra Business Chamber, our regional chamber office, and requested support on this issue and the two groups along with the Food and Wine Association arranged a meeting to gather further information from businesses across the Southern Highlands and agree on an action plan to present to council.

The combined groups have now sent a document to the mayor and requested that the council representatives provide a response to the following statements.

Council must do more to support and grow the local economy, supporting business by:

1. Establishing an independent Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee.

2. Forging a strong partnership with the business community, which focuses on stimulating economic growth and investment.

3. Pre-lodgment assistance, simplified and electronic DA processing that is not cost and time prohibitive.

4. Measures to ensure increased efficiency and transparency of Council decision-making.

5. An approach to business that reconciles a necessary balance between protecting community amenity and supporting the legitimate growth of business.

If you have any questions about this issue please call me on 0477 012 151 or email chair@shchamber.com.au

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