Strength in connection and community
With natural disasters we have learnt to bunker down, then pick up the pieces, to support each other, rebuild and grow to become even stronger for the future. The Coronavirus Pandemic has been very different to the natural disasters we are used to. We are not alone in this one and once the dust settles, communities across the world will find their economies in pieces. In the lucky country, while we have suffered, we are indeed blessed to be in better position than many around the world.
Rebuilding in the ‘new normal’ will require extraordinary creativity, coordination, collaboration and connection, during what may be a long period of recovery. Over the past few months businesses have had to pivot to continue to provide their services to customers, collaborate and connect in new ways, hibernate and reactivate their businesses.
The Townsville Chamber of Commerce has been striving to improve business conditions during this time to ensure businesses can benefit from opportunities now and into the future.
“I am so proud of our community and to be President of the Townsville Chamber of Commerce at such a challenging time when businesses have been tested but also demonstrated how resilient they are.” said Chamber President Michele Falconieri.
As an a-political member-based organisation chamber focusses on issues affecting businesses here and now. Like all businesses during the crisis, Chamber went through significant changes this included a change in leadership, welcoming well-known local businessman Ross McLennan, to the helm as CEO at the start of April.
“Ross is a passionate advocate for North Queensland, he has owned and operated businesses in the Townsville region for the past 23 years and has jumped into the role with both feet. He is listening to members, raising their concerns, advocating for the business community and helping members to navigate what continues to be a challenging time,” said Chamber President Michele Falconieri.
“At the start of the crisis the landscape we all operate in was changing daily, with new restrictions, new grants, new pivots from business, but at Chamber we focussed on connection,” continued Michele.
Since early April Chamber have been:
- Meeting regularly and working collaboratively with all levels of government, business leaders, other representative bodies from across the country, public and private sector organisations, to advocate for the needs of our members, to learn from the experiences of others and plan for the future.
- Listening to members and advocating for their needs.
- Chamber advocated for the waiver of payroll tax.
- Chamber advocated for the $150,000 asset write off being extended.
- Highlighted that office workers were missing on the road map to recovery and ensured they were included in future editions.
- Communicating with members changes to the business environment including; restrictions, legislation, advising on new opportunities such as funding and grants, and reporting on relevant news to enable local businesses to act effectively.
- Creating community by sharing stories of how members are pivoting through their new Chamber Chats App and providing information available for businesses (The Townsville Chamber App is free to download onto your device)
Chamber will continue to work collaboratively with government at all levels to assist them in setting policy that makes it easier for business to operate, with a current advocacy focus of:
- A clear recovery plan,
- Payroll tax exemptions,
- Stamp duty reductions on insurance,
- Decentralisation and procurement to enable decisions about our region to be made in our region,
- Reducing regulations to encourage businesses to innovate.
CHAMBER BUSINESS COMMUNITY
There is hope on the horizon with a variety of major projects flagged or funded for our region and southern investors identifying the potential of Townsville.
As the independent voice of their members and the business community, Townsville Chamber of Commerce will continue to play a pivotal role in rebuilding our economy and make it easier for people to do business here.
Ross McLennan, CEO of the Townsville Chamber is eager to create more opportunities to strengthen our business community as social distancing restrictions relax.
“Chamber is a support system for small business especially during tough times but as restrictions ease, we are looking forward to being able to meet members face to face, and to restarting a schedule of events that create real opportunities for members to connect with and learn from other business owners and professionals,” said Ross.
“Being a Chamber member is a unique way to build your presence in the local community, you never know who you’ll meet, and where those relationships will lead,” continued Ross.
Joining a chamber of commerce is a great way to be part of the community, to meet like-minded people, promote your business and make a difference.
As a membership organisation Townsville Chamber can only do the work they do because of the support of its members, to find out more about becoming a member call 07 4771 2729 or email firstname.lastname@example.org