If the first Bundaberg and District Chamber of Commerce Breakfast meeting for 2020 is anything to go by, Bundaberg region businesses are in for a positive year ahead.
More than 100 business and community leaders met at Rowers on the River for the Chamber Breakfast on Tuesday.
Guest speakers included Jason Pascoe from Gladstone Portd Corporation, Ellie Tonkin from Bundaberg Tourism Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey and Ben Artup, Council’s Executive Director Strategic Projects and Economic Development.
Chamber president Tim Sayre said it was great to see so many people at the breakfast and this indicated a positive business year ahead.
“Chamber, as a membership based organisation, relies on the support of its members, and to have 115 there this morning was a great show of support for what Chamber is doing and will continue to do going forward, that is supporting our fantastic business community,” he said.
Council's focus on economic development
First guest speaker was Mayor Jack Dempsey, who spoke about Council’s $4.2 billion in projects planned and 3200 jobs on the horizon, emphasising Council’s focus on economic development, job skills and investment.
“We have $110 million in projects planned this year and more shovel-ready projects than any other Council in Queensland,” Mayor Dempsey said.
Next speaker was Ben Artup, Council’s Executive Director Strategic Projects and Economic Development who spoke about Council’s focus of 2020 to create jobs in our community.
“Our job growth was 11 per cent between the last two Census periods,” he said.
Ben outlined some of the major economic development projects for the region, including the the demaining of Quay Street, Bundaberg Flood Action Plan, SSS Tower, Council’s move of 90 staff into the CBD and the #lovebundy traders campaign.
“Another exciting new initiative Council will soon launch will be the Bundaberg Jobs Commitment,” he said.
“Our aim is for more local employers to engage with youth in making the transition from school to work and hope many chamber businesses will come on board.”
Port unlocks economic potential
Jason Pascoe, Gladstone Ports Corporation manager of the Port of Bundaberg, presented the draft precinct outlook.
“Our main focus is on minerals, agribusiness and tourism and unlocking the Port’s economic potential through the development of the right infrastructure,” Jason said.
“A recent Deloitte Australia report identified continuing demand and long-term growth in these three key areas particularly from the E7 economies, being the emerging economies of China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia and Turkey.
“As many of these economies are close to us in shipping terms, the Port of Bundaberg is well positioned to take advantage of these emerging global markets.”
Other exciting developments Jason spoke of were its partnership with Sugar Terminals Limited to design and construct common user infrastructure to drive new trade growth; the pre-feasibility assessments for a deep water Outer Harbour which GPC hopes to undertake in the next 12 months; and the emerging opportunities in new energy.
“Resolute on creating success for the communities in which they operate, GPC looks forward to seeing projects such as the Buss and Newman Streets upgrade reach completion in 2020,” Jason said.
“GPC remains confident the Port of Bundaberg will continue to go from strength to strength and is committed to exploring new opportunities for the port moving forward”.
Positive year ahead for tourism
Marketing manager of Bundaberg Tourism. Ellie Tonkin, spoke about the big year coming up for all businesses.
“Very large numbers are coming to our region, with $478 million spent by tourists in our region in last financial year; that’s $1.3million a day of new money into the region,” Ellie said.
“Domestic visitors are staying over 4.5 nights, while international guests are staying 22.1 nights on average.
“We have a reputation as a friendly and collaborative region, and our industry has indicated another strong summer season, which is testament to the hard work of so many passionate businesses for so long.
“Tourism really is everyone’s business – the whole community is affected by the economic impacts of tourism, and every single business plays a role in making every visitor’s experience in Bundaberg a positive one.”
Ellie went on to outline some of the new product coming online, including the Lady Musgrave Experience Pontoon and Splitter’s Farm Farmstay, along with three local attractions competing at a national level in the Australian Tourism Awards – Lady Elliot Eco Resort, Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience and The Windmill Café.
“Destination events are so important in driving economic outcomes for our community – key events coming up this year include the Bundaberg Cup Touch Football tournament and Cyclefest International in February, Taste Bundaberg Festival in June and Childers Festival in July,” Ellie said.
“Tourism has so many touch points that affect all businesses – whether you’re in a tradition tourism and hospitality role or not, you are a part of the visitor economy every day.”
Chamber president Tim Sayre finished the meeting with information about upcoming chamber events, including a policy forum and business planning seminar.
Visit the Chamber website for more information about Chamber functions and events.
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