Supporting jobs reformMayor of Hurstville, Cr Steve McMahon has called for sweeping changes to planning laws that could create jobs and save local businesses precious time and money.
Mayor McMahon said the current system is failing and the NSW Government needs to allow Councils to do away with unnecessary bureaucracy involved in establishing a business.
“With the surge in popularity of internet shopping and strong competition from overseas operators, retail is under threat and undergoing a revolutionary change,” he said.
“According to a recent newspaper report, Australia stands to lose almost 88,000 retail jobs over the next five years due to this shift if all levels of Government don’t start to do something. It is estimated that the planning process in NSW alone costs $13.8 billion each year.”
Hurstville Council had commissioned a study to determine how it could better support business and stimulate the local economy.
“Council also has to lift its game and improve the processes, minimise delays and cut costs for new business start ups,” the Mayor said.
“I want get rid of the chains on small business so more people can ‘have a go’ and in turn, create more jobs for locals and more choice for consumers.
“Local government can only do so much and it is up to all levels of Government to implement radical changes so we are not left behind.”
Mayor McMahon said he wanted to streamline the assessment process to be less bureaucratic and less painful to the hip pocket of business owners.
“The Small Business Study undertaken by Retail Moves states that the total process can at times exceed 100 days and cost some small businesses over $100,000.
“I am disappointed and annoyed that we lose 139 job opportunities and $3 million in lost wages through unnecessary red tape.”
“Let’s remove the red tape involved in establishing small businesses and trust that operators will do the right thing and penalise those who abuse it.
“If businesses fail to comply, hefty penalties should be imposed; the current fine for illegal development is often only as little as $750. It should be in the vicinity of $100,000.”
Mayor McMahon said there needed to be education on both sides and that Council employees and small business operators should perhaps trade jobs for a few days to get a better understanding of how each other operates.
Mayor McMahon said it was time to hold an Australian retail planning forum, with all the relevant stakeholders, to implement real change.
“We need to take action now to secure jobs in our community.” he concluded.