Business Improvement Associations
Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement Associations (BIA)
From the city centre and across the suburbs, Newcastle contains many commercial centres. Each centre contains different mixes of businesses, residents and visitors, but all centres would like to optimise their character and commercial prosperity through a coordinated approach to economic development.
To help achieve these aims, Newcastle's Mainstreet Program was established in the early 1990's. Under this model, Newcastle City Council has collected a special benefit rate from businesses within each nominated commercial centre to pool funds for economic development projects such as marketing, public infrastructure and facility improvements, street beautification and community events.
In 2011 Newcastle City Council and the participating commercial centres agreed to an alternative model that changed from organisations being a Committee of Council to being an independent Business Improvement Association (BIA), governed by a Constitution. Council continues to collect the special benefit rate; and through a Funding and Service Agreement with each Commercial Centre, Council passes the levied funds from each commercial centre or precinct onto the relevant association.
Since 2011, the City Revitalisation Program has brought about significant change and created new opportunities across Newcastle. In this changing commercial and urban environment, the BIA model must also change if it is to remain sustainable.
We are currently reviewing the BIA model to ensure it aligns with our Community Strategic Plan and is the best model to support BIAs to play an important role in the City's economic development.
We will have more information on the new BIA model in coming months.