This being my first Presidents report I would like to thank leaving Exec members, Kirsty, Greg, Chris, Dennis, Katie & Sky for the great voluntary work done in the last 12 Months & a special thanks to Amanda, Paul, Josh and Dean who have again volunteered.A very warm welcome to our new Treasurer Peter Schirripa and new Exec member Sara Pixely.
A real special congratulations to our long term Gold Sponsor Roy Spagnolo and associates who have proudly been announced by The Institute of Chartered Accountants and Australian Financial review as a top 100 Accounting Firm in Australia.
Goals for 2019
We look forward over the next 12 Months working towards ensuring our community gets a new Public Base Hospital fully funded with all necessary services including 24/7 Emergency Orthopaedic Surgery and more.
For too long now Griffith has struggled with land shortages in both residential and commercial that include the necessary and affordable sewerage, water and drainage services by Council in a timely manner, we will continue to make all necessary representations to urgently address these problems.
Following the hugely successful 2018 Business awards we will have a even bigger and better awards in 2019 and are hoping to also host the NSWBC Riverina Awards in Griffith. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the awards, please contact our Business Awards Co-ordinator Amanda to see how you can become part of the event. On the 23rd of November we will find out if our regional winners are successful in taking out the state awards! Stay tuned!
Christmas Members Event
Our next members event is a great casual opportunity to let your hair down and spend some time celebrating another successful year in Griffith Business. Christmas Celebration – Jingle and Mingle – Thursday 29th December Griffith Leagues Club all members welcome & I hope to see you there. More details here
Live Local. Love Local. Buy Local
That’s our message.
Retail in Griffith along with many other drought affected and internet smashed communities has been tough. Your Chamber is looking at ways to create a positive outlook and to encourage people to buy local wherever possible. We will be undertaking a television focussed campaign highlighting the positive effects of buying local. WIN TV will be in touch with members leading up to Christmas on how each of you can help promote your business and support this vitally important campaign.
FACT: If every person spent $5 per week more in our region it would generate $24 Million dollars more , which would create 218 new jobs! (*Statistics supplied by Economy I.D)
The Griffith Business Chamber are pleased to support the relocation of the existing freight terminal located in the city centre. There are many very good reasons ranging from Traffic safety with up 150 B Double traffic movements on our main round about to lots of dust created particularly in the summer months.
At present the freight terminal is an eyesore detracting from using the land for much better uses, we see it as the future site to be rezoned for a gated community with residential housing and strictly controlled entry and exits for automobiles and cycles.
The Business Chambers position is also that we support a Regional Freight Centre relocated to the Wumbulgal site for safety and traffic movement efficiency. This new site would also lend itself well with proposed rail upgrades that are currently been worked on by Narrandera Council with direct Tocumwal.
FREE Energy Comparison Service
Griffith Business Chamber has partnered with NSWBC to provide a FREE Energy Comparison Service. So far, the annual savings identified from just 8 local Griffith members is $19,185 (as of October 2018)…..with one local business potentially saving over $11,000!
There are 2 very important notices regarding Water for Basin Communities;
1: Basin Plan’s ‘elephant in the room’
It is time to start considering the ‘elephant in the room’ with Murray-Darling Basin Plan implementation, which key players have so far refused to acknowledge and discuss.
It continues to be avoided by Water Minister David Littleproud and his Federal Government colleagues, as well as the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), but concerned organisations say it’s time to bring it out into the open and have honest dialogue.
The ‘elephant in the room’ is the inability to physically deliver an additional 450GL of water, if it is recovered, without causing massive flood damage.
The Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) has advertised for interest in on-farm or off-farm efficiency infrastructure measures to attempt to recover the 450GL upwater, at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $1.4 billion, despite the fact there are many insurmountable problems that prevent that water ever being able to be delivered.
Jan Beer from the Upper Goulburn Catchment Association said she was furious that the Federal Government and the MDBA are not open and honest with the general public about how this additional water will be delivered.
“The Government is using $13 billion of taxpayers’ money to remove water from farmers, production and communities. To deliver that water to South Australia, under the current flow targets of the Basin Plan, properties and towns will be flooded out.
“It makes absolutely no sense to push forward with recovering an additional 450GL if it is simply not possible to deliver the proposed environmental flows downstream to South Australia without creating millions of dollars of damage each time a flood event happens,” Mrs Beer said.
She said the issue of delivering the 450GL via a ‘relaxed constraints strategy’ was the ‘elephant in the room’ and governments burying their heads in the sand won’t make it go away. The other thing that Mrs Beer can’t understand is why governments continually refer to the 450GL being only about irrigators.
“The proposed flood target of 80,000ML/day can only be achieved if the upstream combined flows total are in the order of 160,000ML/day meaning there will be very adverse socio- economic impacts in the order of millions of dollars damage with each and every event. Quite clearly the socio-economic impacts go well beyond the irrigators,” said Mrs Beer.
She added Basin Plan legislation states there should be “no negative social or economic impacts on Basin communities,” yet over 3,000 properties will be inundated or affected by the proposed major flooding on an ongoing basis.
To compensate those landowners who would be flooded the government’s initial estimate was $200 million, but this has blown out to in excess of $760 million. However, Mrs Beer says “no amount of a one-off, up-front compensation payout as mitigation for flooding forever into the future is acceptable to landowners.”
“Mr Littleproud, the MDBA and the Federal Government need to start looking at options other than the recovery of entitlements to achieve environmental outcomes, because there are plenty. And they need to stop fooling the Australian public about what their taxes are funding.
“At the moment our taxes are funding the destruction of rural communities throughout Southern NSW and Northern Victoria, so that large volumes of water can be forced down our major rivers to South Australia causing much environmental degradation along the way,” Mrs Beer said.
2: Basin Plan Blow ups
National leaders need to recognise that local communities want to work with government for the economic, social and environmental benefit of the nation.
Recent comments from Federal Water Minister David Littleproud that “Irrigators stand to lose more than they gain if the (Basin) plan is blown up” have frustrated Barham farmer Alan Mathers, less than a week after the Minister visited Deniliquin in NSW.
“Blowing up the plan is not the message the Murray Regional Strategy Group gave the Minister during the hour and a half he spent with our representatives.
“It is disappointing to hear these comments, as we gave the Minister a number of key messages and key outcomes, and all were about solutions, not tearing down the plan,” Mr Mathers said.
He said he was especially disappointed the Minister thinks this issue is just about irrigators.
“What goes largely unrecognised is the impact on businesses, industries, riparian landholders and communities in this whole process. This is not just about irrigators, the impacts are far greater than that,” Mr Mathers said.
He said the regional leaders who met with the Minister recognised the need for a Basin Plan, however there are a number of issues with incorrect modelling and assumptions made in the plan’s development which are now playing out. As a consequence there is a greater need to be adaptive and flexible with its implementation.
“When the Basin Plan was drafted these unintended impacts were not foreseen, especially the damage to food producers, irrigation delivery companies and entire regional communities.
“Then, when the plan was being legislated in 2012 an extra 450 gigalitres was added, even though at the time there was no knowledge of what impacts the plan may have. That is why we presented solutions to Minister Littleproud, which take into account what we have seen occur over the past six years.
“What we offered was an adaptive and flexible approach to the Basin Plan, which will ensure that environmental objectives are met while at the same time limiting the socio-economic impacts to communities. Afterall, we were promised a balance between social, economic and environmental outcomes, which is something we are yet to see,” Mr Mathers said.
In his statement Mr Littleproud also said, “The 450GL can only be recovered through projects with positive or neutral socio-economic impacts.”
“And that is what we are holding the government to,” Mr Mather said.
“We don’t agree with the recovery of the additional 450GL, we want to see the 2750GL safely delivered before we even discuss the 450GL. But if it goes ahead we have developed our own rigorous criteria which abides by legislated commitments of ‘neutral or positive socio-economic impacts’, and that is what we presented to the Minister,” Mr Mathers said.
Until Next time regards,
Pat Pittavino President Griffith Business Chamber