Chamber Chat: there must be a council election looming

What’s in it for business?

The signs are starting to pop up around town, the candidates are staring seriously done the lenses of cameras getting strategic articles in the Mercury, social media is abuzz with carparks, bottlenecks, roads, rubbish and rates. There must be a local election coming soon.

COMMITMENT: Departing mayor Peter Blackmore.

COMMITMENT: Departing mayor Peter Blackmore.

The chamber wants to hear from aspirants for mayor and or council what is in it for business.

Mayor Blackmore is a regular at our members briefings and bring his years of experience to each occasion and is generally open to questions and bringing positivity to our group. Will this same commitment come from our future leader?

The chamber has seen engagement over the years from a number of the local mayoral candidates but for some their lack of engagement is a concern. The business community and in particular the chamber plays a vital role in advocacy and is a partner with council at times to securing government funding for important infrastructure projects for our city.

So we set the challenge, come engage with chamber at our meetings and beyond. Bring your platform to us, entice the business community to get behind you as our votes will count.

Maitland voters at this next election is made up of a lot of small to medium business owners. Not just retailers in the city but business operators like Barry Sims from J&B Lending Specialists, Allen Davis from Firebug Photography and yours truly from Hunter Recruitment Group.

The chamber is also made up of thousands of employees from business represented in Maitland that want to know what is the business platform of our next mayor. Is the council going to continue to focus on the visitor economy? Will the council invest to see employment growth in new areas such as STEM industries?

Maitland Business, the employment hubs, the visitor economy and the economic flow on that comes from having a powerful voice needs to grow and the council plays a major part in ensuring the relevance of the Maitland Chamber.

As president I am fortunate to liaise with many of the adjacent local chambers of the Hunter and discuss common issues and the relationship with the council is a constant talking point. Our friends in Lake Macquarie have recently banded together to become a stronger, unified voice as they had many smaller chambers in pockets of the LGA. We in Maitland are lucky to have one chamber one LGA.

With this certainty of one voice comes a need for change, I and the members of the executive of the Maitland Chamber would love to see a stronger use of the chamber by council moving forward to truly create a powerful partnership. Are the current mayoral candidates aligned with this thinking?

We need to know as our vote will depend on it.