Taking care of businesses

IT’S an issue that has caused great division within the Clarence Valley and it’s something that will be tackled head-on from this week.

On Thursday, Clarence Valley Council’s business rates advisory committee will hold its inaugural meeting.

The working group was created in an effort to try to formulate a universal business rate structure for the Clarence Valley.

The committee’s genesis came about in February this year after councillors found it too difficult to determine the business rates parity issue themselves.

In a motion passed 8-1, councillors voted to form a working group with business representatives from across the Valley.

Last Friday, the names of those selected for the committee were made public.

The committee includes 11 people. They are: Graeme Lockyer from Iluka Chamber of Commerce, Jeremy Challacombe from Grafton Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Andrew Baker from Maclean Chamber of Commerce, Bruce Bird from Wooli Chamber of Commerce and Bill Day from Yamba Chamber of Commerce, Eoin McSwan from South Grafton industrial area, James Hiatt from Trenayr/Koolkhan industrial area, Geoff Worrill from Maclean/Yamba industrial area, Peter James from Grafton/South Grafton professional businesses and Robert Thompson from Lower Clarence professional businesses.

Clarence Valley mayor Richie Williamson is the 11th member of the committee and will act as chairman.

The council’s general manager, Stuart McPherson, announced the names on Friday, saying the committee had a complex issue ahead of it.

He said Thursday’s inaugural meeting would deal with a number of issues, including the recently adopted Constitution of the Advisory Committee, the rules for the operation of the committee, the existing rating structure and legislative framework, and setting a forward meeting agenda.

“The subject of business rates and the equitable spread of those rates is complex,” Mr McPherson said.

“I am looking forward to the discussion and the development of advice (back to council) by February 28, 2012, or earlier, for council to then consider with the aim of introducing the resulting rating structure for the 2012/13 rating year.”

Thursday’s inaugural meeting will be held in the Grafton Council Chambers at 5pm. The meeting will be open to the public.

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