CCIQ calls on local councils to deliver more for small business

Monday 29 February, 2016 | By: Darrell Giles | Tags: Local Government, council elections, roads and services;

Queensland small businesses believe their local councils are not doing enough to create jobs, fix roads and strengthen the community.

In an exclusive CCIQ survey on Local Government, ahead of the March 19 council elections, more than 1100 small businesses across Queensland have voiced their opinions.

Results show that the small business community expects their councils to do more – in term of roads, regional economic growth, planning and development, and core council services.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said CCIQ recognised the vital role that councils played in building and sustaining the Queensland economy.

“Queensland businesses believe the activities of local councils are of crucial importance in their day-to-day activities,” he said.

Mr Behrens said the economic development strategies of the state’s 77 local government bodies were extremely important on the back of the on-going drought in many areas and the downturn in the resources industry.

He said the survey, conducted last month, confirmed that the effectiveness of local government in regional Queensland was not considered as strong as in South East Queensland.

“Local Government must also work closely with Queensland small businesses to shape the state’s economic and social environments in a way that promotes business growth and community prosperity.

“Regardless of who forms local government, it is essential they implement services and infrastructure that address small business needs.”

The Local Government Election Survey considered the importance and effectiveness of councils.

The importance of Local Government in Queensland

  • On a state-wide basis the three most important roles for local government are: roads; economic development; and planning and development.
  • Local government infrastructure is more important in Regional Queensland.
  • Due to the downturn of the resources sector the importance of regional economic development is crucially important to Regional Queensland.
  • According to SEQ businesses the top three most important roles of local government are: roads; planning and development; and council-administered facilities and services.
  • For regional businesses the top three most important roles of local government are: economic development; roads; and planning and development.

The effectiveness of Local Government in Queensland

•          In the main, councils are doing a good job, but small business said there was definitely room for improvement.

 •         SEQ councils are more effective at delivering infrastructure/services due to higher population densities and scale.

•     Despite its importance, 33.5 per cent of regional Queensland businesses believed their local government is not effective at developing and implementing an economic development vision.

•     27.3 per cent of regional Queensland businesses believed local government was not effective at administering planning and development.

Mr Behrens said CCIQ called on Queensland local councils to prioritise economic development, roads infrastructure and reducing the barriers to planning and development.

“CCIQ is committed to working constructively with all councillors across Queensland over the coming four years to address those issues and challenges confronting the business community,” he said.

CCIQ’s statement of principles and purposes for local government in Queensland:

•     Ensure that councils’ finances are managed in a fiscally responsible manner;

•     Seek the removal of unnecessary business regulation with the objective of eliminating anti-competitive provisions, which cannot be justified in the public interest. This includes an overriding objective of easing compliance costs of legislation, regulation and taxation;

•     Maintain essential infrastructure and services at a level which encourages economic development. This can be achieved through the promotion of private sector alternatives to the funding and/or operation of local government infrastructure assets;

•     Ensure that charges imposed are competitive with other comparable jurisdictions; and

•     Encourage practices which enhance the transparency and accountability of its decision making.

Source: Westpac Group CCIQ Pulse Survey of Business Conditions, December Quarter 2015.

Survey period: 12-29 January 2016. Respondents: Qld: 1132

Local effectiveness graph

local importance graphic

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