Economic support focus of 2020/21 Annual Budget

Published: Tuesday, 23 June 2020 at 4:46:03 PM

Over the past eight weeks, the Shire of Northam has been considering its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This culminated in the adoption of the 2020/21draft budget on June 17, which included $5.5m focused at supporting the Shire of Northam economy through and post Covid-19.

The $5.5m economic support package includes a range of initiatives it such as $930,000 to be invested in the Northam CBD to continue implementation of the Northam CBD Connectivity strategy; $660,000 to demolish the old Northam Pool and convert the area into an RV friendly overnight stay area; $250,000 to develop RV friendly parking in Bakers Hill & Wundowie, $50,000 as a continuation of the Bakers Hill community precinct, $2,000,000 to redevelop the Shire of Northam Depot as well as a range of financial relief initiatives focused on local sporting and community groups.

Shire of Northam Shire Presidents, Cr Chris Antonio, said the economic support package was carefully developed focusing on projects with a high local contract component.

“While Council has always had a strong philosophy around supporting local business, this year we have carefully analysed our projects and initiatives with a view of maximising local content” Cr Antonio said

Shire of Northam Chief Executive Officer, Mr Jason Whiteaker, said Council would now turn its attention to how best work with local business to maximise the local economic outcome.

“Our next focus will be on working with local businesses to have a pipeline of work over the next 12 months. For the first time I am aware of we will actually be asking local business when the optimum time is for them to deliver projects, rather than Council setting the timeframe agenda like it would normally’

“Our assessment is that 90% - 100% of the projects endorsed by Council can be sourced locally”

Mr Whiteaker said that in addition to the obvious works, Council had also adjusted some of its annual programs to maximise local content, highlighting the light vehicle fleet focus over heavy plant and equipment in 2020/21.

“For the past six years Council has had a policy to only buy its light vehicles from local suppliers. This year we have increased our light vehicle replacement program to support our local suppliers and decreased our heavy plant replacement program which is predominantly sourced outside of the Shire of Northam”

The Shire President, Cr Antonio, said that while Council is committed to local economic support, the challenge was to get everyone, business and the community, on board and look at their own purchasing to maximise local content.

“When you support local business the entire community benefits. It creates jobs, increases local demand, and stimulates business growth, which if sustained, increases demand for housing. We are strongly encouraging our local community, including the businesses, to support each other through theses challenging times. Every dollar spent locally helps, and goes toward making Northam an even more vibrant and sustainable community”

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