A new era for business in Murray Bridge dawned on Wednesday morning at the launch of the Murray Bridge Business Alliance.
The organisation's leaders hope it will become a voice for small business in council chambers and higher circles, and a coordinator of activities that will strengthen the bonds between traders to the benefit of all.
It was launched over a sold-out breakfast at Murray Bridge Golf Club by Jo Podoliak, chief executive of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Murraylands and Riverland.
She had championed the idea of uniting Murray Bridge's three business lobbies – Murray Bridge Business and Tourism, Murraylands Enterprise Estate and Bridge Street Traders – to better support jobs and investment in the community.
"This is the start of a great journey," she said.
"We're trying to provide a strong business group not just for today but for years to come."
Event emcee Des Warner said he was heartened by the milestone.
"I always felt for many years our region didn't progress because of division," he said.
As well as uniting and speaking on behalf of business owners, the alliance will:
- Host local events and awards
- Encourage collaboration between businesses
- Offer training and professional development
- Promote the benefits of buying locally to residents and visitors
Guests at the business breakfast also heard from Mark Warren, manager of The Bend Motorsport Park, about the progress being made there.
Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash spoke about funding made available to regional communities in the recent federal budget, and the federal government’s push towards decentralising its departments.
Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick brought up a variety of issues being discussed at a state level, including the high cost of power.