Mayoral candidate Helen Blackburn promises to lift her local Buy Local policy to 80 per cent.
Mayoral candidate Helen Blackburn promises to lift her local Buy Local policy to 80 per cent.

Blackburn promises 80 per cent buy local target

BUNDABERG Regional Council should be spending 80 per cent of its operational and capital budgets in the local area, said mayoral candidate Helen Blackburn.

Yesterday Cr Blackburn said the council had the ability to achieve an 80 per cent buy local target, while speaking during a press conference held at Bundaberg Wholesale Palms & Plants.

“Council needs to champion local buying and make it part of the culture of the organisation,” she said.

“Having local businesses benefit through providing services to the council is a way of keeping the local economy strong,” she said.

“This enables jobs to be retained locally and businesses to stay open.

“I have long been an advocate of supporting local businesses having been instrumental in setting up and chairing the Traders Group and then the Love Bundaberg programs.”

Cr Blackburn said current mayor Jack Dempsey’s recent commitment to lift the local spending in the next council term was “too late”.

She said Cr Dempsey had a four year council term to make the increase. Bundaberg Wholesale Palms & Plants owner Stephen Pratt said in the same press conference that the council was not spending enough on local businesses.

“This town would be a cash cow if they supported the guys paying their rates,” Mr Pratt told the NewsMail.

“I’m pissed with council not from not buying from me, I’m pissed at council for not supporting Bundaberg.”

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the policy was released a month after his own recommendation to lift the tendering weight from 10 per cent to 30 per cent in favour of local businesses in the next term.

He described it as “a hollow promise” that had already been achieved and that more than 80 per cent of the expenditure was invested in the region.”

Jack said it’s a hollow promise because it’s already been achieved.

“Council already has a strong buy-local commitment with over 80 per cent of our expenditure invested in the Bundaberg Region,” he said.

Cr Dempsey spoke in the council meeting in January about the council’s economic policies and on what it had done to improve the local economy.

“It sometimes happens there are no local suppliers capable of responding to council’s requests for tender or requests for quotation because of the specialist work involved,” he said at the time.

Cr Dempsey also wanted to expand the definition of local supplier to allow not-for-profit organisations and indigenous businesses to compete for contracts.



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