CONCERN: Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry has a big focus on buying locally especially during slow economic times. PICTURED: 152 Goondoon Street.
CONCERN: Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry has a big focus on buying locally especially during slow economic times. PICTURED: 152 Goondoon Street. Matt Taylor GLA140419EMPTY

Chamber keen on working closer with council to help business

GLADSTONE Chamber of Commerce and Industry outlined its plans for projects and funding in a presentation to Gladstone Regional Council last week.

It also expressed a desire to work more closely with the council on strategy and policy to help small business in a struggling Gladstone economy.

The group also lodged a funding application for its ongoing Buy Local campaign and asked for the council's help with economic development.

"We want to have a bigger say in economic development within the Gladstone region and would like to work with (the) council," GCCI president Joe Smith said at the meeting.

"Our vision is to build a local economy through the local business sector," Mr Smith said.

GCCI's request for a three-year, $165,000-a-year deal for which it will contribute $87,000 a year, was approved.

Mr Smith gave a rundown of GCCI's plans for the coming months and what it was doing for small and medium businesses.

"We do believe there's a gap between the larger end of town and the small and medium-size businesses and that's where we see GCCI filling that gap," he said.

"GEA does engineering, GAPDL does tourism... Most of our membership is split between retail, hospitality, professional services and construction - that's where we are looking to go.

"We would like to be involved in facilitating the strategic leadership for our region... We see opportunity with the new projects coming to town."

Extra customer service training, GCCI's ongoing business breakfast series and network meetings, women in business workshops and an pilot program focussing on the mental health of business owners due in the second half of year was discussed.

Tapping into fishing tourism was also on their agenda.

"Tourism is (the Boyne Tannum HookUp's) core business but our side will be the business development and actually training businesses so they are able to deliver and leverage from that," Mr Smith said.

The Buy Local campaign continues to be one of GCCI's main drivers and vice-president Carl Carter said more businesses were being encouraged to sell online in an effort to compete with online retailers.

Mr Carter said the campaign would continue to educate people to buy locally, a response which satisfied deputy mayor Chris Trevor.

"Unless we educate our community from the elderly right through to our young people at school that it's important to support local people and support local jobs, it's just going to continue with more bricks and mortar businesses closing," Cr Trevor said.

"That of course is significant for us because it impacts our rate base.

"If everybody was buying online and not keeping open shops and paying rates, it has a flow-on effect."



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