Business lobby begs for bail out

Embarrassing, humiliating and frankly pathetic is how Cr David Tomlinson described Lismore Unlimited Opportunities (LUO) at Tuesday nights Council meeting, after the peak business body applied to Council for a loan of $18,000.

LUO, now renamed the Chamber of Commerce, asked for an unsecured loan, which means Council would wear the debt should the chamber fail to pay.

What kind of precedent is this setting? Cr Tomlinson asked. Are we to offer the local trade unions hand-outs as well?

In an earlier address, chamber president Mark Willoughby made it clear that the business lobby was finding it hard to attract people to its board while the organisation remained in debt.

This would help us move on, Mr Willoughby said.

The $18,000 is the remainder of a loan taken out three years ago after financial difficulties left the organisation with a number of unpaid bills, one with the Australian Tax Office.

Mr Willoughby offered for the chamber to pay off the loan at a rate of $1000 per month.

The chamber has average annual earnings of over $60,000 each year. Mr Willoughby said he felt the chamber could be relied upon to pay out the loan, although board members were not willing to offer any security.

Mayor Merv King used his casting vote to push through the request.

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