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.

Objectives

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.

MEDIA RELEASE

Why Councillor Dutta doesn’t want the Confederation of Greater Hobart Business Ltd asking questions.

CGHB was recently made aware of an agenda item put forward by Councillor Dutta back in February 2022 asking about how many questions had been put forward by the public to Council and the associated costs with answering them.

Given the Chairman of CGHB has regularly met with the CEO of HCC – Kelly Grigsby with multiple questions from members – NONE of which to this day have been answered (standing at around at least 7 months now) we have to ask what other way can the general public expect to ask questions and call the Council to account?

For the record here are the ‘scandalous’ questions the Confederation of Greater Hobart Business Ltd put forward over a period of months – by attending 4 of the 8 council meetings to do so. Questions that Councillor Dutta feels should not be fielded or answered. I will let you be the judge.

Topic: Treatment of small business owners regarding Utas Move and Precinct plan

Preface:

In recent weeks I have been noticing a disturbing trend with some of the elected members and Hobart City Council staff in regards to their attitude towards small business owners. With the advent of the now rescinded Melville Street Development application a number of traders stood up to state they were unhappy with the entire plan and concept design for the area they function within. Numerous times including at the City Talks Networking evening when I presented the issues around loss of income and accessibility the standard answer has become ‘well you should move your business then’. It is hard to understand such a pathetic ethos about small business owners who contribute to the cultural fabric, employment, goods and services to the greater community. After all, imagine the uproar if a resident suggested they did not appreciate the building works next door to their home that the standard answer from Council elected members and staff was ‘to move’. A small business owner has to either buy the building they trade from at significant expense or invest in a multi-year lease which is generally as expensive if not more expensive than residential rentals. To move you have to pay out your lease which would easily start at $50k to $100k plus fork out for a refit in the new leased premises. All because no duty of care has been taken to respect the ability of a small business owner to quietly trade where they have invested by the Council.

Questions:

  • I ask that the Hobart City Council please provide the rate payers of Hobart an explanation of how it is that small business owners can be treated with such utter contempt
  • Why is it that traders contributions are considered less worthy than a near billion dollar entity like UTAS.
  • Why are traders being pressured to move at all?
  • Is there no right available to small business owners to quietly trade in peace within the bounds of Hobart City Council.
  • I also note with concern that UTAS has now purchased enormous amounts of what was commercial rate paying buildings. Given the temporary ‘rates equivalent’ contributions from UTAS towards THEIR projects appear to remove even more income producing assets from Hobart City Council areas how does Hobart City Council intend to balance this significant additional reduction in both rates income and parking income?

Topic: Dead Plants in Elizabeth Street Parklets

Preface:

On the 7 September 2021, some weeks after it was noted that the plants had died, men in high-vis came and uprooted all the dead trees
and plants in the Elizabeth Street Parklets outside the Stagg and other small businesses – replacing with fresh new shrubbery.

Questions:

  • Who was responsible for the maintenance of these plants – HCC or benefiting businesses?
  • What is the cost associated with this refresh and who is paying? HCC or private enterprise?
  • Has any attempt been made to ascertain the real time use of this seating as it appears to be more unused than used? Are statistics available regarding the use?
  • In light of the fact that this seating replaced car parks accessed by the local businesses client base who truly did spend – when is this parklet trial scheduled for removal?

Topic: Rates on Utas Owned Hotel Operations

Preface:

It has been reported that UTAS has signed a 5 year lease for 96 Bathurst Street. Its use has been converted to that of a commercial
Hotel known as the “Pure T Hotel”. It will operate in direct competition to local Hotel and accommodation industry players.

Question

Will the council please confirm that UTAS is required to pay full commercial rates for the property as it would be reasonable to consider
that this contract has no element associated with the provision of education?

Parking in Hobart

Questions:

  • Please precisely define the occupancy metric used in the graph “All City Vs North Hobart Occupancy Comparison”
  • From examining the ‘All City Vs North Hobart Occupancy Comparison’ chart it appears just when it was made public back in June 2021 that the fees were increasing that occupancy had started to decline. The decline continued significantly to the end of the chart’s range and appears to be close to a 10% decline in occupancy. Could the the council please clarify these numbers?
  • What percentage of the Council metered parking bays are $5 per hour?
  • Are road users able to identify the metered parking prices from their vehicle before committing to parking in a park?
  • When paying your parking meter you used to be able to insert money in 10 cent increments, now the increments displayed on the meters appear almost random. What is the basis of these increments?
  • Does the council acknowledge that parking rates and variable increments being both unknown until the driver has committed to a parking space and engaged with the parking meter as well as the worrying propensity for the parking sensor to supply conflicting information (and resulting in a parking offense that needs time spent sorting out) is creating significant alienation of the road users and thus they are now avoiding parking in Hobart City Council altogether?
  • Does the council admit that it’s management of parking has led to financial hardship of small businesses, such as those in the North Hobart strip?
  • Discounted parking has led to improved trading conditions. Is the parking strategy now going to be reassessed with this new data, valuing the local area requirements of small businesses in the Hobart Council area so they are able to trade in a difficult economic climate?
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