Rotarian Tom Quirk introduced Andrew McKerrell from the Peel Chamber of Commerce to the meeting.
Andrew described the Peel Chamber of Commerce as a membership based, not for profit organisation, which represents the Boddington, Waroona, Murray, Mandurah and Serpentine/Jarrahdale districts.

Established in the Peel Region in 1960 (this is its 60th year), the Peel Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands the needs of Peel businesses and is the established voice of business on a range of issues. The Chamber's core mission is to provide fair and active representation of all members with commitment, honesty and ethics, by supporting businesses and professional organisations, providing a range of support services, promoting members and lobbying on behalf of business interests.​

The Chamber's network extends across the Peel Region to encompass organisations establishing contacts in a region that is taking initiatives in tourism and business. The Chamber actively promotes the interests of its members across business and the community. Business, government and professional organisations know that working with a proactive Chamber and its network of members brings a range of positive outcomes for their activities in the Peel Region. In the fight for a better business environment, the Chamber of Commerce & Industry does collectively for business what individual businesses cannot achieve alone.

There are 390 members across the Peel District. The chamber has initiated and supports local sub-branches, such as one here in Pinjarra.
This interaction between members provides a practical pathway which helps a business in seeking advice with finding solutions to problems which their peers may have encountered.
In addition, the sub-branches facilitate networking between business owners.
The Chamber is committed to holding events such as the annual Alcoa Peel Business Excellence Awards, and has hosted seminar events like the 2017 Future-Proof Peel Business Conference . The Chamber has sourced training services like seminars and workshops, and can direct its members to appropriate service providers when a business is seeking advice on improving how their business interacts with their clients.
Andrew is passionate about the Chamber, and in particular his role in providing advocacy for local business, frequently when the business is dealing with the effect of Government decisions.
For example, issues concerning tax reform are important to business. The West Australian State Government has increased the threshold for the payment of payroll tax to businesses exceeding $850,000 in annual salary.
However, business in general is struggling; and rural business particularly so. The Chamber is lobbying the State Government to increase the threshhold to $1.5m, which would allow a business to expand, increasing employment before hitting the payroll tax barrier. This "payroll tax barrier" (anecdotally) does have a marked effect inhibiting the expansion of small enterprises. The State Government has recently secured improved Goods and Services Tax (GST) return from the Federal Government, which has a positive impact on the State's finances. It has been announced that the State's GST share will be rising from a shockingly low recent base of 34c/$ to 70c/$, and by 2026/27 the rate will be 83c per $. The Chamber believes this improvement to the State's finances should lead to an easing of the Payroll Tax impost; hopefully, to see this inhibiting Tax revoked.

Business closures are a very concerning issue to the Chamber, and understanding the reasons and causes of a closure having occurred is essential when attempting to form a strategy to combat this situation.
Dealing with Federal and State Government, and with big businesses can be frustrating for local business so the chamber is trying to facilitate improved access to local contractor tender processes. The Chamber has played a role in ensuring that businesses (often small local enterprises) are paid for their goods and services within reasonable trading terms.

The Murray River Business Support Group is an initiative having positive results for local business. Andrew congratulated Rotarian John Tuckey for his support of, and participation in that group. As a result of a community and business consultation process, it has been possible to improve connection between business and the Shire of Murray. By creating a single point of contact for the Shire and Business through the appointment of Dave Arkwright as Manager of Economical Development for the Shire of Murray, a dedicated pathway now exists whereby business can attempt to resolve issues with the Shire in an expedited manner. Shire of Murray projects such as the Peel Deviation, and the Nambeelup Technology Park are central to the Murray River Business Support Group's interests.
The Chamber was able to assist when a recent problem regarding rate increases which were impacting on local business occurred. An acceptable outcome was agreed following constructive dialogue and consultation involving the Shire, Chamber and the Murray business group.
The question of "trading hours" is one which needs basic business logic applied. Having extended hours does not mean that increased sales necessarily follow. What is certain however, is that increased operating costs do.
Increasing local sales is imperative to the survival of the local enterprise. The rapid increase in the opening of new retail shopping centres was highlighted as an influence that is causing an additional strain to existing businesses. If the size of the retail market is defined as 100%, then the goal of every business is to claim a sufficiently sized share of it to enable their business to survive and prosper. In the current (and future) retail world, disruption to market share is coming from online sales. The Chamber is in a position where it can provide its members with tools and information to assist the local business to find their place in the business landscape.

Rotarian Laurie Galloway thanked Andrew for his enlightening overview of the Chamber's role in local business.