Regional chambers welcome cash boost

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Benita Cattalini.
Camera IconAlbany Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Benita Cattalini. Credit: Liam Croy

Regional chambers of commerce have welcomed a State Government funding injection to keep operations going through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chambers can now access grants between $5000 and $20,000 to aid recovery through the crisis.

Many chambers were struggling with a slump in memberships and restrictions causing regular event schedules to be canned.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said they were needed now more than ever.

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“Local chambers of commerce are a key part of the fabric of regional WA and play a critical role in supporting small businesses across the State,” she said.

“Restrictions necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 have limited the ability of regional chambers to raise funds, with some at risk of closing their doors.”

Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Benita Cattalini said they would not need to access the funds thanks to the ongoing support of its members.

“We could never do this without the loyalty of our local business members and that is a credit to the Albany business community,” she said

Ms Cattalini said cash flow was a significant problem for local businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

“We think that the priority is a fund for hardest hit businesses to access in the form of vouchers, to give them access to local, professional and qualified business advice to help revisit their business strategy and plan an appropriate path forward,” she said.

“Businesses would like to know there is more comprehensive testing put in place to build confidence that when they open, if there is a second wave, that there can be a quick response to quarantine the infection rather than close the businesses again — which would be even harder to come back from.”

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