Warrnambool City Council must reconsider its plan to charge market stallholders a $600 annual fee, Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says.
Mrs Britnell said a number of constituents had made contact with her in relation to the council’s proposed policy, which will see people who have a stall at a market charged a fee to gain a permit to trade.
“Making market stall holders pay a significant fee for a permit is a mistake in my opinion,” she said.
“Farmers markets and craft markets have huge tourism potential, it can help make a destination more attractive for people who are looking for a weekend away,” she said.
“People from the city love walking through a farmers market and seeing local produce, they love discovering local artists and creatives and markets like this add to the culture of a town.
“My fear is if this plan goes ahead, small producers will no longer see the value and avoid setting up at markets in Warrnambool. It would be a huge shame to lose that.”
Mrs Britnell said Warrnambool’s summer night markets, the fortnightly Fresh Market and the weekly undercover market would all be impacted by this proposal.
“These are fantastic events that bring life to the city and give small and niche operators an opportunity to start and grow their business,” she said.
“No one wants to see established traders disadvantaged, and fees should apply for traders who want to come in and set up shop for a few weeks at a time. Stallholders pay fees to market operators, so having to apply for a permit is essentially a double slug for them.
“I call on the Warrnambool City Council to reconsider this proposal and make changes to ensure market stall holders aren’t unfairly targeted.”