Advocacy, Access, Action

We are the independent voice for Greater Hobart Small to Medium Business. Our aim is to create and maintain the best environment for small/medium business to be able to both start and flourish within the Greater Hobart locale.


To provide advocacy and lobbying on behalf of members To provide regular monthly low cost networking events To obtain information on local issues and ideas from members.


There’s a new bully in the neighbourhood

Strong neighbourhoods are the foundation of our democratic and multicultural city. The interactions between members of a neighbourhood determine its success. International studies have shown that neighbourhoods built on inclusivity, respect and mutual responsibility are stronger, happier and more prosperous.

Neighbourhoods are weakened and destroyed when an organisation wielding more power ignores its social responsibilities and forces its will on others. This creates division and unrest. Those who can leave. Those who must stay, isolate themselves and refuse to contribute where they would otherwise.

This is what we are seeing happen as UTAS begins its migration out of Sandy Bay and into our beautiful city. This economic behemoth is crashing in with scant regard for the wellbeing of other businesses in the neighbourhood. A near billion-dollar business, classified as a charity, acting very uncharitably.

Ignoring the importance of traffic flow for our businesses, in an already traffic-choked city, UTAS now wants to close off a lane of traffic in Melville Street as part of a construction project that will take more than five years. Anyone else would be expected to keep it on their own land. Not UTAS. It’s far too big and important to care about you.

In moving from Sandy Bay to the city, UTAS is not trying to adapt to its new location, it’s determined to rebuild the new location just like the old one. The wide paths and ample seating for students like they have in Sandy Bay will just be jammed into the city at the expense of local businesses. Business owners are shocked and appalled. They’ve seen 20 parking spaces removed to make way for “parklets” and artistic seating. With lectures no longer held in person and workshops reduced to small groups, we are unlikely to see the surge in pedestrians needed to make these spaces worth the effort.

This is not a case of “if you build it they will come”. They built them on Elizabeth St and they have not come. A pedestrian sensor sits forlornly on the back of the “Have your say Hobart” sign near the Stag in Mid Town Hobart. Is it expecting a tsunami of activation over the Christmas break that has so far eluded these trial parklets? Will it justify the pain inflicted on local businesses?

The Green Ideology that dominates Hobart City Council simply doesn’t wash for Hobartians. We park a few blocks from where we are going and quickly get what we need, conscious of the time and money we are going to blow in the process. Even the city’s aldermen have complained that their friends don’t come to the city anymore. One even had the gall to suggest, on the radio, that if shoppers can’t find a parking spot they should do their shopping somewhere else. What a blatant betrayal of hard-working ratepayers who rely on people coming into the city for their income.

Supporters of the development point out that businesses like McCanns are supporting it. Of course, they would. They have a deal with UTAS for a new rental site in the UTAS foyer. No doubt this comes with all the benefits UTAS is being afforded.

Hobart City Council has a responsibility to ensure the well-being of all members of our neighbourhood is taken into account before they consider adopting these plans. UTAS has clearly demonstrated that it is not interested in the well-being of its new neighbours. There has been no real consultative process and businesses who are being grievously harmed by this development have no genuine ability to influence the plan. Both UTAS and Hobart City Council are demonstrating a gross lack of integrity through this process. At the same time decisions like this will reduce the city’s resilience to deal with changes like we have seen during the recent pandemic. 87 per cent of innovation comes from small businesses. This development will result in the loss of Hobart’s beautiful small shops. Those innovative retailers that make our city an interesting place to spend our time and employ so many of our population. The proponents of this development have an opportunity to take the concerns of their neighbours on board and allow everyone to flourish. At the moment, it seems they are intent on talking at us and not to us, encouraging division rather than inclusivity

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