It was an absolute pleasure to attend the Shoalhaven’s Business Awards on Friday and present the hardworking Shoalhaven Business Chamber with a cheque for $10,000 to help further its work.
(min cost $8)
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As the area’s largest business chamber it does an incredible job supporting and advocating for our local businesses.
The funds will enable it to continue its promotion of safe workplace practices and carry on the Excellence in Workplace Safety award in 2019, as well as run a number of programs to build the employment skills and safety capability of young people in the region.
I congratulate all of the Shoalhaven’s businesses that are creating a safety culture where safety leadership, engagement, and training are made a priority – such as the Flagstaff Group who took home this year’s Excellence in Workplace Safety award.
A big congratulations also to all of the 19 winners, and to the overall business of the year, Cupitt’s. Well done to the Cupitt’s team, who also won the Excellence in Sustainability award and Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality, it is well deserved. They are a fantastic example of a business supporting the community, promoting the region and boosting the local economy.
Also among the winners was Nowchem, which received the Excellence in Social Responsibility award, congratulations to John Lamont and his staff.
Other local businesses and individuals to win included: Terry Rayner (ANZ Mobile Lending), Elise Gooda (Think Tank Business Services), Dale Berry (Peak Fitness Huskisson), My Travel Expert in the Excellence in Small Business category, Nowra Farmers Market, Sonder Youth, Natalia Allan Consulting, Hotondo Southcoast, Cullunghutti Aboriginal and Child Family Centre in the Excellence in Community Service category, Pepperell & Associates, Think Tank Services in the Outstanding Home-Based Business section, Sarah Tebutt (Eliza’s Lighting), and Kimberlie & Co Cleaning.
A big thank you also to the committee and president Deborah Langton for pulling together a fantastic evening. Until next year!
Over the past few years our council has indulged itself, somewhat at our expense, in submitting applications to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for exceptional rate increases for its General Fund Operations (excluding water and sewer operations). For the four-year period from 2017/18 to 2020/21 IPART granted council the right to increase our rates by a total of 31 per cent. This at a time when there is wage stagnation and the CPI increases will be lucky to hit a total of 10 per cent over that period. Certainly the 11,000 plus pensioner accounts recognised by council will not see anything like this sort of increase.
If we look back on these council submissions a strange sort of result emerges from the fog of local government financial reporting. Council told IPART in February 2018 that its net operating income for 2017/18 would be $4.5 million. The result for the year, just four months later, was quite different at $22.5 million.
Over the four-year period up to 2017/18 council told IPART that the net operating income would total a loss of $15.8 million. The actual result over these four years was actually a net income of $65.1 million, a difference of $80.9 million. One can only surmise what IPART would have made of that when assessing council’s applications.
Council attempts to mitigate this vast difference by fiddling around with a line item known as capital grants and arguing this income item should fall outside its net operating income calculation. From a cash availability viewpoint this is balderdash.
Council did not need to hike up our rates by this 31 per cent to meet its ongoing activities and aspirations. The $100 million that it held in cash at the end of June 2018 stands testament to that proposition.
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