Cowan, like most outer suburban electorates, is an eclectic mix of new and old residential, industries—both traditional and emerging—and commercial. Bridging the gap between these different types of businesses, understanding the challenges they face and keeping a finger on the pulse of what is affecting business owners in such a diverse electorate can be a challenging exercise. But I'm extremely lucky in Cowan to have a wonderful relationship with the Wanneroo Business Association, whose purpose is to provide economic empowerment for businesses via access to networking, advocacy, education and collaboration.
The WBA is a not-for-profit, with a hardworking volunteer board of members, attracting businesses from 83 suburbs. Last month it celebrated 20 years since its incorporation. The value of the WBA is recognised by the fact that in recent years its membership has grown significantly and it now represents and connects almost 400 local businesses in Cowan. In turn, the WBA recognises its members and their achievements with annual business awards. Last week they also hosted a business expo to show off the best of what Cowan has to offer, and there was a lot on offer.
Recently, I had the pleasure of hosting members of the WBA in my office for a networking morning tea. I had business representatives talking to me about everything, from how to optimise my gym session—should I have a gym session—where to get dinner and what's best on the menu, where to take a holiday, where to get new blinds for my house and financial advice. I even had an offer for a celebrant, should I want to get married again. I can confirm that I declined this kind offer, because I do not want to get married a fourth time—so a message to my husband; 'Dave, you're safe'.
I would like to place on record my thanks to the president of the WBA, Mr Dinesh Aggarwal, and the whole board. I also want to acknowledge the pivotal role of Lauren Bell and Kellie Foskett, their full-time staff. I also need to thank Janelle from the WA state government Small Business Development Corporation for joining me with the WBA to provide further assistance to their members. And I want to thank my staff, in particular Iman from my office, for helping put together a wonderful event. I look forward to seeing the WBA continue to celebrate their success. All the members of the WBA know the door to my office is always open.