Chair of the newly formed Narrandera Business Chamber has vowed to make the town “great again”.
John Sullivan was elected the acting chairman and treasurer and Rebecca Rogers as secretary at a formation meeting of the group on Monday. To be aligned with the NSW Business Chamber, the organisation will compliment the work done by Narrandera Business Group and target young people in business.
As a president of the former Narrandera Chamber of Commerce, John Sullivan’s motto is to revitalise the town.
“We are at a stage where we must reassess what we had and what we can do,” he said. “The Chamber is the most important part of the process – it will be about bringing the maximum amount of money into the town.”
Mr Sullivan said the town’s location on the junction of two major high-ways, Lake Talbot pool and the Narrandera sportsground were “future gold mines”.
“Let’s make Narrandera great again – that’s what we’re about with the help of our businesses,” he said. “Sporting organisations and charities are a vital part of this development of the finances of the town.
“We have poverty we must overcome and we can only do that by bringing money in, and creating work to make the town better.
“We will be encouraging people to spend their money locally.”
Narrandera Shire Council mayor Neville Kschenka congratulated Mr Sullivan on his passion for the town.
“A Chamber of Commerce is something we haven’t had for some time and I understand the benefits of being in the Chamber, whether that be for legal advice, recruitments, advertising and business management,” Cr Kschenka said. “We look forward to seeing Narrandera and Leeton chambers networking together to share experiences or concerns.”
Council’s general manager George Cowan was pleased to hear of a re-energised business chamber for Narrandera.
“Narrandera’s future is very bright and like any community it is affected by the ups and downs of commerce, the climate and the whims of the state government,” Mr Cowan said. “We have had the impacts of that felt over quite a few years but the future is bright.
“An effective Chamber of Commerce has an important role to play. I welcome the initiative and I’m sure the council will support you in any way it can. I suspect there will be some sort of partnership moving forward.”
NSW Business Chamber Murray-Riverina regional manager Andrew Cottrill said the Narrandera Business Chamber’s formation was important for the region’s businesses.
Mr Cottrill said Chamber membership enabled liaison with other likeminded businesses across the state and access to a legal and business advice.
“In recent times we have focused on skills shortages and employment issues in regional NSW, and how the education system can engage more young people in trades and apprentices,” he said. “Energy costs are another focus of the Chamber movement and we try to ensure the region has sufficient gas supply.
“The impacts of natural disasters and drought certainly have a flow-on effect to regional communities, and we encourage state and federal governments to provide support for business.”
Mr Cottrill said it was critical for a strong Chamber to have businesses working closely with local government.
He said the NSW Business Chamber was rebranding as Business NSW, with the local organisation having the opportunity to become Business Narrandera and access IT infrastructure, including a website.
NSW Business Chamber business solutions executive Sue Mills, of Leeton, offered support and guidance to the new organisation.
“I really want to see this thrive and it will be a great thing for Narrandera,” she said.
Meetings will be held monthly and the membership fee will be set at $30 to encourage all businesses to join.
Small business owner Peter Dawson attended the first meeting and wants to see more prosperity in the town.
“That creates business for everyone then,” he said.
Mr Dawson said the key issues for Narrandera were health services, a second supermarket and job creation. As a member of Narrandera Business Group, he said the two groups would be complementary.