When the Chamber’s 2020 board members were elected in March none of us expected to be facing a very different world, thanks to COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions and hardships it brought to businesses. And like other key local stakeholders, our primary focus is on supporting our members to get our economy back up and running as quickly – and safely – as possible.
Our strategic goal is to help drive business success for our members via the development of a strong and resilient regional economy, the development of a constructive business environment and by being the voice of business.
Never has it been a more important for a business to be part of the Chamber of Commerce as we dig deep to uncover the best possible road map to navigate our path to recovery to ensure that businesses remain profitable and secure for the long term. And interestingly, we have welcomed a growth in the uptake of new memberships since the start of COVID-19 as businesses want their voice to be heard.
We are strong advocates for the business community of FNQ and a conduit for information and the promotion of Cairns’ position in the regional landscape. We are proud to continue to collaborate with Advance Cairns and TTNQ and work closely with Cairns Regional Council. By working together as one voice for the region, we can be stronger advocates for our respective members.
As well as the focus on local advocacy issues, we work in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ), the state’s peak business body that connects all 120-plus Chambers across the state. This state-wide Chamber movement is critical because if you have a stronger line of communication within the business community throughout Queensland, you’re going to have a much stronger voice for advocacy. This collaboration has led to positive change, such as the payroll tax levy and payroll tax lifted on Job Keeper payments, commercial rent relief and SME electricity rebates. As one voice, we have more leverage.
Like much of the business community, an innovative change that has come about since life as we know it disappeared is our ability to continue to connect and communicate via online video link ups. We have been able to continue to function. In fact, we continue to thrive in this new normal form of communication.
Our new board has yet to meet in person as one, but we have engaged together regularly on virtual platforms. We are a diverse board, all very commercially success driven and are very keen to continue the momentum that the former board created. We are here for our members and keen to once again be able to connect with our members in person and the issues they have.
The Cairns Chamber has two very dynamic and proactive sub-committees:
Our Cairns Young Chamber now have had a seat at the board table since an amendment in our constitution at the last AGM, which gives our members access to a whole cohort of the next generation. The voice of tomorrow is an absolute game changer to many of us, and we look forward to the day when we can co-host events with tomorrow’s young leaders.
Tradelinked Cairns-PNG-Pacific is a regionally focused sub-committee of the Chamber, which was established to facilitate the engagement of likeminded businesses trading between Cairns and its near international neighbours including Port Moresby and pre-COVID-19 were expanding activities and connections throughout the Solomon Islands and other Pacific regions.
Back closer to home, we have been locally advocating for the dining precinct along the esplanade and are delighted to see Cairns Regional Council have sparked a flame on that development.
As we move closer to the state elections in October 2020 the Cairns Chamber of Commerce look to reflect on the most important issues for our members and the business community of Cairns as a whole, and these will form our election priorities for 2020. We believe these priorities will further our mission to build a strong and resilient regional economy and prosperity in the local business community. These priorities will also complement our ongoing advocacy throughout the next few years and focus our continued representation of the Cairns business communities.