Election promise for Murrabit Market

Peter Walsh with Dick Walters, a passionate member of the Murrabit Special Projects Committee. 
Picture: ASH JAMES

Peter Walsh with Dick Walters, a passionate member of the Murrabit Special Projects Committee. Picture: ASH JAMES

SMALL businesses and residents who turn their passion into money at the Murrabit Country Market may benefit from an upgrade to the event. 

Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh pledged that if the Coalition are elected into government this November, they will deliver $200,000 in funding for an expansion of existing retail outlets. 

Approximately 200 stallholders and 6000 people visit the Murrabit Country Market each month. 

According to Murrabit Special Projects Committee president, Narelle O'Donoghue, the funding will assist the entire population. 

"80 people live here and they use the market, in some way," Mrs O'Donoghue

"We have a lot of young families here that use the market, they really keep our population up, and that sustains this town." 

Of the 6000 people that visit the market, a large portion visit the arts and crafts gifts shop when the market is on. 

By adding an additional space to promote arts and crafts, produce, and a gallery space for area artists, Mrs O'Donoghue said it would upgrade the economic potential in the community. 

"It's a gift shop, but it's also the market office, it's how we promote the town," Mrs O'Donoghue said. 

"So it's important we maintain it for the people travelling through the town. 

"This is a part of the community, because there are some products here that aren't in big stores, they're only made locally."

The Murrabit Country Market provides a platform for businesses specialising in niche products that may be too specific for a mainstream space. 

Mrs O'Donoghue said that through an expansion of the current retail outlet, it may entice people to stay longer at the market, which opens up the possibility of giving unique stalls further exposure to travellers.

One unique stall belongs to Peter Scott, who turned his fondness for woodwork into urn and box designs. 

Mr Scott said he relies on the market to make a profit out of his passion. 

"We don't necessarily do a lot of business on the day. 

"But people come and talk to us and learn about what we do, and we end up selling a lot after the market. 

Mr Scott said the boxes take a long time to make, so they have to be presentable in order for the stall to make a profit. 

Blue Wren manager, Rod Key sells handcrafted biscuits at the market and said the event is integral to highlighting the efforts of local business owners who dedicate themselves to their passion. 

"I think you find authentic products in smaller towns but what you do has to be commercially viable when you have a small population," Mr Key said. 

"Put it this way, I really love what I make. 

"In a supermarket in the city, there may be no love in what you buy." 

The expansion plan also includes a small kitchen and an increased space to be used by community groups.

The Murrabit community has raised nearly $40,000 to date to contribute to the project, and have given 1000 hours of volunteer time to plan the project.

"We have been raising funds to go towards this project for a number of years," Mrs O'Donoghue said. 

"All we need is a commitment by the government to turn this great project into a reality."

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