WAGGA City Council has been called out for stifling local businesses despite advocating to reinvigorate the central business district.
At a meeting on Tuesday night, councillors unanimously supported the trial of a new proposal that looks to fill empty shopfronts by Christmas in hopes of bring new life to the CBD.
Yet four days earlier, the council voiced its support for a nationwide campaign to curb needless consumerism by purchasing nothing new in October.
The initiative had been criticised for hurting an already struggling economy.
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Gary Gurtner, who has been a local businessman for 40 years, said it was "outrageous" that the council had publicly endorsed a concept that encouraged residents to stop supporting struggling business for an entire month.
"I do think consumerism has gone too far, but if people do not buy anything from local shops then we will be out of business," he said.
"Hundreds of businesses that are employing local people are literally on their knees and the last thing we need is for people to stop buying from local stores."
"That was the wrong way to do it, we need all the help we can get."
Mr Gurtner said the council should think carefully about the initiatives it chooses to support in the future. Rather than working against businesses, he said the council needs to help them thrive.
Wagga councillor Paul Funnell said the council has sent mixed messages to the community and that needs to change.
"We are telling people let's try and reinvigorate our CBD ... give businesses a shot in the arm that we want them to have and yet we have a department telling people don't buy these new products," he said.
"It is a slap in the face to our small businesses and our agricultural businesses."
Moving forward, Cr Funnell said the council's resources need to be redirected towards projects that rejuvenate the CBD rather than those that "destroy the local economy".
It is a slap in the face to our small businesses, and our agricultural businesses.Paul Funnell
He said the Renew Australia model - which was fully supported by councillors on Tuesday - was a prime example of the council supporting an initiative that pushes the community in the right direction.
"It is such a pleasure to see a proactive approach to supporting our businesses in anyway we can. To give them the lift up - not hand out - particularly with new starts in arts and culture," he said.
"We do not want to see a city with empty shops and there are a multitude of reasons as to why that has happened.
"While it is not our responsibility as an organisation to fill the landlord's buildings, we do have some level of moral obligation to do what we can to assist and facilitate the process."