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Off to a Flying Start

2019 has started off with a bang for the Cairns Chamber of Commerce, which is celebrating a major milestone this year – our 110th Birthday!

We had over 80 new members join the Chamber throughout December 2018 and January 2019, helping us get closer to our goal of reaching 1000 members by the end of the year.

We will continue to 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.

Our members’ businesses are represented at local, state and federal level on a range of business issues, ensuring the issues of the business community, big and small, are understood by policy makers.

Each Cairns Chamber membership includes the corresponding Chamber of Commerce Industry Queensland (CCIQ) membership. This includes Human Resources and Industrial Resources (IR) advice via a dedicated phone support service.

The Chamber, CCIQ and Human Resource Dynamics have created a partnership to assist businesses in the Cairns area with their human resources and industrial relations needs.

Many small businesses do not have the resources of major companies and the level of complexity involved with human resources requires expertise many organisations do not have. Industrial relations remain a key challenge for businesses as many contend with differing pay scales, confusion about how to engage employees and ensuring workplaces are compliant with the most recent legislation.

CCIQ, through the Chamber and HR Dynamics, will be launching a series of events this year that will connect businesses in Far North Queensland to provide members with the tools and resources to best manage their workforce and compliance.

We have a number of exciting events coming up, including a Managing Your Small Business lunch and a workshop with Naomi Simson, a well-known panel member of Shark Tank and Founder of Red Balloon.com.au, an Australian Businessperson, Entrepreneur and Blogger. Other upcoming events are a networking event March 7, Strategies to Boost Your Revenue luncheon March 26 and a federal election debate April 30.

We’re also thrilled to be able to host the third annual James Cook University Cairns Business Excellence Awards June 30th. It’s one of our region’s most prestigious and celebrated annual business events that just gets bigger and bigger every year. Nominations for the awards, which are open to all businesses in the Cairns region, are now open. Visit our website at cairnschamber.com.au for more information.

The Cairns region is emerging as an economic powerhouse in northern Australia, yet its continuing growth and dynamism is heavily reliant on a readily available and dependable skilled and semi-skilled workforce to supplement the local labour market and complement existing labour programs.

In 2017, 16 job classifications were removed from the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List and 200 were removed from the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List – drastically condensing the jobs that skilled migrants could use to apply for residency. Many occupations in which migrants could obtain the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (formerly the 457 visa), no longer provide a path to permanent residency, resulting in a significant reduction in the availability of skilled migrants to fill vacant jobs in regional areas. Early 2018, changes were made to the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa – a visa for migrants who want to work in regional Australia.

While migration initiatives, such as the Working Holidaymakers Visa for young overseas tourists and the Seasonal Workers Program, have helped fill the demand for unskilled and seasonal jobs in the tourism and agricultural industry in particular, a recent surge of tourism developments and the expansion of the horticultural and food manufacturing industry is now creating a critical deficit of skilled and semi-skilled labour to fill technical and supervisory roles.  This is evidenced by a culmination of job vacancies and anecdotal evidence from employers across all major sectors, which has driven regional business to lobby the Chamber to find a solution through a DAMA for the region.

We’re also excited to have the Telstra Business Centre Cairns as a new corporate sponsor. The Centre provides ongoing support and access to cutting-edge technology for small and medium-sized businesses.

Their Information Communication & Technologies (ICT) experts are dedicated to taking the guess work out of running your local business. They provide installation and maintenance of phone systems, cloud computing solutions, broadband and NBN-ready digital office systems, custom designed WIFI solutions and a wide range of apps, ICT products and mobile phones.  

We would also like to welcome and thank our Gold Sponsors for 2019. Elite Executive, Gallagher Insurance, Tosco Office National, Total Tools, Adllins Media, Capta Group, Life Sumo, CBC Staff Solution and Cairns Regional Council.

We have a lot more projects and events coming up this year, and we’re looking forward to having one of our best years yet!

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