From the CEO’s Desk

Thu 20 Jun 2019

RCCIWA Members Forum – June 13th and 14th – A Great Success!
The first RCCIWA Members Forum was another very valuable and informative event with fantastic information, advocacy, information sharing, engagement and networking. Thank you to everyone who came along and contributed so enthusiastically. There was a very strong collective focus to both days, and it was yet another way that we work hard to ensure the voice of regional business in WA is heard.

Day One was held at Parliament House and was generously hosted by the Hon Paul Papalia CSC MLA. With 38 people in attendance, representing 18 regional chambers, the conversation with the leaders of our state was relevant, robust and enlightening (to all). We also had the privilege of hearing from the newly appointed Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Liza Harvey MLA, just a couple of hours after her appointment.

There were many issues discussed during the day with some key questions from our members being:

  • Raising the payroll tax threshold  - no commitment was made on this; however we will keep raising this as an issue as every opportunity. To read our view on this go here
  • The development of the Busselton airport
  • The inequity of the cash buy back system for regional taxi plate owners
  • The good work that is being done by the State Government on driving an increase in tourism numbers to regional WA, with particular reference to regional air fare offers and promotions. What areas are to be  focused on going forward?
  • How can we support an increase in regional GP’s?
  • What mental health support is there for regional communities?

We will be circulating the full notes to our members in early July, as well as any feedback or updates we receive from each of the Member of Parliaments’ offices.

Day Two was held at The Mercure Hotel Perth and saw 30 people representing 20 regional Chambers. It was a brilliant day of sharing and learning with a focus in the afternoon of developing activities or projects as a collective that will be driven by RCCIWA for each of our members to benefit from. Some of the operational items discussed were:

  • Diversification of revenue streams
  • Funded program delivery
  • Retails activation
  • Events and event management
  • Membership levels and sponsorships
  • Business directories
  • Collective marketing
  • Communication methods and resources
  • Supporting your organisations people

Full notes on this full day of incredible information will be sent to all members in July. We also saw Jill and Leanne from the EKCCI join us via technology which was great. We hope more members who are not able to attend future forums will be able to attend this way.

We also heard from Dean Cracknell, the CEO of Town Teams WA which was a very well received and relevant presentation and discussion. Place and retails activation is high on the priority list for so many of our regional communities, and Dean gave us some great insight, tips and advice on the role a Chamber can play in this important area of stimulation.

RCCIWA Business After Hours – hosted by NAB
In between both Forum days we of course took this opportunity to hold a Business After Hours to bring our members and many stakeholders together. Generously and stylishly hosted by NAB with 90 people in attendance, this was a brilliant event, with networking at its best. NAB had organised regional food and beverages to be served and also arranged for one of their customers (and a regional superstar), Cameron Syme from The Great Southern Distilling Company to offer tastings of his amazing whiskey’s and gins and also speak about his regional journey – which is an amazing one. For more info on Cameron’s story read here. A big thank you to NAB for hosting this event for us  - it was a ripper!

Town Teams WA Conference – September 13 and 14 2019
The Town Team Movement is an ‘under-arching’, non-profit organisation helping to create a network of town teams around Australia and New Zealand. They promote civic leadership, active citizenship and community empowerment. Town teams are positive and proactive organisations that include businesses, landowners and residents working collaboratively with their local government to improve a place or area, often a town centre or ‘main street’.

We heard from Town Teams last week and many of our members expressed interested in attending their conference in September – the program sounds amazing. For more info go here.

RCCIWA Advocacy – we would love your feedback
We always strive to represent and advocate on behalf of our collective membership to ensure the voice of regional business in WA is heard. We do this in a variety of ways and are able to do this effectively because of how engaged our members are. Thank you. Having direct feedback and examples from our members as to how decisions, rules and polices are affecting their members means that we can provide genuine, relevant information that we hope can be used to form better decisions to effect positive outcomes. Some of the priority issues we are currently working on are:

  • Water Corporation – Fixed Water Services Charges
    We have been contacted by several accommodation businesses in different parts of WA, that are struggling with the fixed water services charges (not usage) that are not at all reflective of occupancy. We are talking about the fixed charges each accommodation business pays for each toilet that they have connected, regardless of occupancy, and we have heard from some businesses that their water bill at some times of the year is over 10% of their income. The only way those businesses can reduce these fixed charges is to have the toilets disconnected, which is not practical. We are currently working on this and will be in touch with all of our members to get more information, but if you do have any feedback regarding this please get in touch.
  • Support for Retailers in regards to antisocial behaviour
    We have been contacted by several members in regard to how we can support retailers more in the regions, particularly in regard to antisocial behaviour. At a time when retailers are facing challenges on many fronts, the lack of consequences for individuals who steal, vandalise and generally behave outside of the law is seen as a big contributor to the escalation in this unacceptable behaviour. We know that all regional towns and communities are working really hard to attract new retailers and also ensure that current retailers don’t close down. We are working on gathering more information which we are hoping to present and discuss at our meeting at Parliament House on June 13th. What we will be calling for is more consequences for the offenders, so there are true deterrents to this behaviour. Please get in touch if you have anything to add on this issue.
  • Regional Taxi Businesses – not eligible for cash buy back
    The voluntary taxi plate buy back scheme that the State Government is currently offering of up to $100,000 per license, is only for metropolitan taxi plate owners. There is a $10,000 payment for each plate for regional taxi operators that was announced in the recent state budget, however the regional taxi operators are concerned that their businesses will no longer be viable and as a result of this critical community services will not be delivered. We understand the Department of Transports rationale behind their decision and are aware they are currently looking at other ways they may be able to support regional taxi businesses. We would like to find out more about how this decision is affecting regional taxi businesses and work together on ways we may be able to assist. If you have any comments or information from regional taxi businesses that could assist us with working on a mutually agreeable outcome please email me.