By Mitchell Clarke
Berwick businesses could soon be represented by a united voice, after a number of business owners met to establish a new Chamber of Commerce.
The steering committee, led by business owner Tammy Lobato met on Friday 24 January for an initial meeting to discuss the finer details before developing a strategic plan.
Berwick has been without a chamber for four years and Ms Lobato believes it’s time to introduce a business representative body.
“I’ve spoken to a number of people and I know that others are of the same view that there needs to be a business representative,” Ms Lobato said.
“People are very enthusiastic about this, it’s only early stages at the moment but there are a number of businesses who are very excited.”
Through a united voice, the chamber will advocate to government, encourage greater visitation and economic participation in Berwick, support members through informative workshops and provide a range of forums.
“I think as a business owner, I know what I would be looking for in a membership organisation,” Ms Lobato said.
“I want to be talking with other businesses, I want to learn from them, I love collaborating with others and I believe businesses can really be inspired by other businesses.”
Ms Lobato, who is the former president of the Berwick Business Group, is hopeful the two organisations will work in collaboration.
“The chamber and the business group are performing very different functions,” she explained.
“I’ve reached out to the Berwick Business Group with the hope of collaborating in the future.”
Ray White Berwick owner Debbie Brettoner is one of the members who joined the steering committee. A 30+ year resident, she believes the chamber will help to acknowledge a number of issues facing local business.
“Berwick is one of the fastest growing suburbs in Victoria and there are so many issues in the town,” Ms Brettoner said.
“There is a combination of issues, from car parking to increased rent and we plan to address this because it’s only going to get worse unless we do something.
“Everyone in this group understands the issues and they’re not prepared to sweep it under the rug, we need to resolve these issues.”
It’s hoped the strategic plan will be adopted by the end of January and put into motion from 1 February.