Business from across all sectors invited to ARBA meeting

Posted Wednesday 3 July, 04:42pm

The future of the municipality’s business community will be discussed at a special meeting next week called by Ararat Rural City Council and Ararat Regional Business Association (ARBA) to reinvigorate the business group.

CEO Dr Tim Harrison said Council has committed a full-time Economic Development Officer to work with the business association to help grow membership, obtain resources to run workshops and seminars, and provide marketing, promotion, leadership and guidance.

All businesses within the municipality – including agribusiness, retail, manufacturing, tourism and businesses in our smaller towns – are being encouraged to attend the meeting, from 6pm on Wednesday 10 July at Chalambar Golf Club in Ararat.

Dr Harrison said Council and ARBA joined forces several months ago to reinvigorate the business group, which has been in caretaker mode while assessing its role in the business community.

“The meeting next week is a great opportunity for business operators to provide input and feedback on how we can move forward together,” Dr Harrison said.

“We want our business community to not only grow, but succeed – we all have a shared passion and collaboration is the key for success. Council understands the importance of an organisation that better helps businesses to work together and have a more strategic vision for the future.”

ARBA Treasurer Graeme Foster said it was fantastic Council had committed to help ARBA succeed and he encouraged as many people as possible to come to the meeting.

“ARBA needs to become relevant and we need a strategic plan around what we’d like to achieve and how we will achieve it,” Mr Foster said.

“Council’s support will enable us to rally the troops from all business sectors – this is not just about retail in the main street. We want everyone involved from agribusiness, tourism and manufacturing to retail and micro businesses from right across the municipality.

“Having a strong membership will help us build a collaborative foundation that sees us all work together on a broader vision for Ararat Rural City’s business community. We want to focus on more meaningful and strategic ideas for the future benefit of our region.”

Dobie primary producer Charlie de Fegely encouraged primary producers and members of the agribusiness sector to come to the meeting.

Mr de Fegely said it was vital for the municipality’s businesses to develop a strategic plan to drive the direction they want to take rather than taking a reactionary approach.

“Agribusiness and primary producers are a large part of the business community in Ararat Rural City and we need to be involved because individually we are nowhere near as strong as when we work together,” he said.

“There will be some cross overs in issues and focus across the sectors that will really work in our favour, and the agribusiness sector is bound to gain benefit through working together rather than doing things in isolation.”

The ARBA meeting will be held from 6pm on Wednesday July 10 at Chalambar Golf Club, 118 Golf Links Road, Ararat. RSVPs would be appreciated for catering purposes – please phone Council’s Phillippa Cairns on 5355 0241 or email pcairns@ararat.vic.gov.au.