New level of con­fi­dence

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - – Dean Law­son

An Ararat dis­trict busi­ness col­lec­tive is primed to rekin­dle its po­si­tion as a ma­jor voice in re­gional de­vel­op­ment and progress.

Ararat Re­gional Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion is set­ting it­self up for ma­jor re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion af­ter a groundswel­l of sup­port and will reset di­rec­tion at an an­nual meet­ing next month.

ARBA spokesman and busi­ness­man Graeme Foster said an over­whelm­ing re­sponse to a call-to-ac­tion busi­ness meet­ing in Ararat had fu­elled a fresh level of con­fi­dence in the group’s role in the com­mu­nity.

He added Ararat Ru­ral City Coun­cil, in declar­ing its po­si­tion as a pri­mary part­ner and sup­porter, had added im­por­tant stim­u­lus to the or­gan­i­sa­tion and its po­si­tion as a busi­ness mouth­piece.

“It’s about mov­ing for­ward and be­ing pos­i­tive. What hap­pened at the meet­ing re­flected a col­lec­tive de­sire be­tween busi­nesses and the coun­cil,” he said.

“The meet­ing was fan­tas­tic. It reached far and wide with 60 peo­ple rep­re­sent­ing a vast ar­ray of sec­tors and dis­tricts. A num­ber of peo­ple have put up their hands to be in­volved in what shapes as a rein­vig­o­ra­tion of the as­so­ci­a­tion.”

Ararat coun­cil has com­mit­ted a full­time eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer to ‘work with the as­so­ci­a­tion to help grow mem­bers, ob­tain re­sources and pro­vide mar­ket­ing, promotion, lead­er­ship and guid­ance’.

Mr Foster said the as­so­ci­a­tion needed to be rel­e­vant and to have a strong pur­pose as a busi­ness-representa­tive or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“To have sup­port from the coun­cil in al­lo­cat­ing a staff mem­ber to as­sist the as­so­ci­a­tion is sig­nif­i­cant. It’s a mo­ment in time,” he said.

“From what I can re­mem­ber we have never had this level of sup­port. It’s an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to get on board and it is great to see so many peo­ple pas­sion­ate about the re­gion.”

Mr Foster stressed that ARBA was much more than a group rep­re­sent­ing re­tail­ers.

“It is re­ally im­por­tant to get it across that it em­braces sec­tors such as man­u­fac­tur­ing, farm­ing, tourism and so on. It is vast and in­clu­sive of the largest em­ployer to the home-based en­tre­pre­neur. It’s about work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively for pos­i­tive out­comes,” he said.

“We want to generate a new level of rel­e­vance and en­ergy – to band to­gether, pool our re­sources and knowl­edge to work to­wards a com­mon goal to make the re­gion a great place to live, work and in­vest.”

Mr Foster said the as­so­ci­a­tion would an­nounce a place and time for the Au­gust an­nual meet­ing shortly.

“We have 17 to 18 peo­ple who put up their hands and are willing to con­trib­ute time, en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm to come on board. We will contact those in­di­vid­u­als to form a group and have of­fi­cial elec­tions at the an­nual meet­ing,” he said.

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