Yesterday, I attended my local council’s community engagement forum. It is the second community forum I have attended by our council and it was a rude awakening for me of the way our city and the world is moving. Many of you know that I am a Christian first and then a business owner. On both fronts, it was a difficult day.
I was aptly involved in the economy group, and up until now I had thought that our local government representatives were supportive of small business. I often marvelled at the businesses and people I knew that disliked our council and I felt that was unfair.
What I realised however, yesterday, is that there is a reason for the dissatisfaction of small business with their local councils.
Globally, Australia seems to care more about what is “politically-correct” than it does about its actual people. I noticed that there is more care for trees (I mean what’s new) than there is for people. And now to add further shame, Australia cares more about seeming “up to date” with same-sex marriage and LGBTIQ and every other acronym the global agenda can come up with to destroy faith and family, than it does about our ageing population, our children, the deterioration of the family model, and our small businesses, without which there would be no ground-level economy.
I was highly disappointed with the strong emphasis on tourism in the Blue Mountains, above and beyond our local businesses and our people. I mean one man stood up and complained that we should destroy the goats that are eating bush plants… I mean WHAT THE!!!!??????
There was no mention of home-based business men and women and how we, as a community, and our council can support them. The fact that tourism monopolies in the Blue Mountains look to Sydney and overseas for suppliers (and investors) rather than using our own local business resources and encouraging development of our land for local business astonishes me… and they get away with it because of who they know and who they are related to! The back rubbing, nepotistic, monopolised wealthy tourism owners do not care one hoot for the small businesses that support them, let alone for our people, really!
What about support for local businesses? I’m not talking about artists, who tourism supports. (BTW, I don’t think they truly care about you, but you may as well reap the benefits because artists need support too!) But for home-based business owners that need money to grow and market themselves, what are local councils and government representatives and organisations doing for you? And what about support for people and businesses that are not painters and potters, but rather accountants and professional consultants?
In the recent background paper to the forum, I saw ONE achievement. “The Council joined the Small Business Friendly Councils Program, recognising the importance of local small business sector as a vital contributor to the community and economy”. Did they? When? How come no one was told about it? What does it mean to recgnise the importance of local small businesses. I recognise it too, but what are we doing about it?
The Hills Council in NSW is an excellent model for other Australian councils to replicate in support of small business. Not only do they have a small business representative that business-owners can book a time to meet with and discuss their target market and business growth goals in the area, the Hills Council also provides a database of contacts to all small businesses of businesses of all sizes in the industries and sectors they wish to approach.
What are we doing to support small business? Federally I think our government does a lot for small business. Sydney and Western Sydney have realised the importance of small business throughout NSW, and they are taking steps to develop land, build infrastructure and support growth of small business. 4,000 government jobs moving to Parramatta, the growth of business and economic diversity in Norwest, and the Western Sydney Business centres being developed all support our growth. Now the proposed Western Sydney Airport is a huge milestone achievement for Western Sydney business, large and small. What a shame that the Mayor of Blue Mountains pushed his anti-airport agenda yesterday, both negatively-charged and politically inappropriate, positioning us as a city against progress rather than a forward-thinking city for the future — completely defying his supposed vision to build a successful future for the Blue Mountains. Ironically, the council representative body of the Blue Mountains seems to be the main body against “building”.
Coming to this reality in my local area was very sad for me. I thought we were living in a free Australia, but it’s obvious to me, we are catching up with the global agenda faster than we think. What will the future of Australia be? What hope do we have for a fair, faithful and family-oriented future.