Dear Chamber committee and members.

As you Chamber representative I’ve been busy with working alongside the Burnie and Devonport Chambers this month calling for the new or returned government to support in particular small business as Labor and the Unions draws up plans to make changes to the minimum wage.

The New Living Wage

This proposed “Living Wage” is aimed at rebranding the term “Minimum Wage” and to increase it in line with what the average person needs in Australia to make ends meet. Importantly this refers to our nations poorest workers and it’s an important step in helping them to provide for their families.

As an organisation which promotes and supports businesses, we agree with the sentiment that everyone deserves “a fair go” however its also important to make sure that small businesses can make ends meet also.

Terminology such as “Fat Cats” and “Top End of Town” do not describe the average NW Tasmanian business and so as an organisation, we are concerned that all businesses are not tarred with the same brush.

In our recent survey titled” Small Business Wages Survey,” the bottom line is that while most of our local small business owners (Under 2 Million Turnover) feel optimistic about the future they can not afford and are unprepared for hikes in wages. Neither do they have strategies in place if this occurs apart from redundancies or further casualisation.

The fact remains that most have the will to employ more local people and to provide for local workers but a balance must be found which provides for workers but also creates and promotes stability for small businesses.

As a combined Chamber force we’re calling for greater educational opportunities for students and workers so that their skills match what local employers need. Workers who provide the greatest value to employers will be those who get the jobs on offer and as local people upskill its only natural that local business will employ them.

We’re also calling for the Government to support local businesses to increase funding to small business to keep pace with technology and to assist small business to thrive in this growing economy.

Braddon In Focus

Interestingly neither Gavin Pearce or Justine Keay have made contact with our Chamber about the upcoming election except that they both attended the Advocates Candidates Forum in Ulverstone. It makes us wonder how much they value the opinions of business owners in the Central Coast Region in the coming Federal election and seam driven by mainland politics rather than representing the needs of local business. While both have attended our functions in the past this does not equate to meeting with us to discuss specific needs as their state counterparts have done.

State Politics and our local Pollies.

In contrast, both Liberal and Labor state representatives keep in regular contact with the Chamber and attend our events. We want to congratulate Leonie Hiscutt on her reappointment as Liberal Member for Mongomery and Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council and thank Shane Broad, Anita Dow and Roger Jaensch for their contributions to our events including raffle prizes.

I recently shared lunch with Shane and Anita and their support for the needs of small business and the Chamber were evident. I did use the opportunity to drive home the importance of supporting small local businesses, especially in light of the Tas Water miscommunications over wastewater treatment and its effect on the closure of several local businesses.

This month Leonie invited Chamber representatives to join her in a meeting in support of a local business in dealing with Taswater issues and in coming days the Council, Chamber and State political representatives will meet with Tas water in Ulverstone to support small business in the grease traps/wastewater fiasco.

Council Representatives

This month I’ve also started meeting with our councillors personally to make our position clear that we need every one of them to consider the needs of small businesses in every decision which they make. We will continue to work with our council rep on this theme at our committee meetings and to ensure that all councillors understand what our position is and how they can best assist small businesses in the region.

Calling for a New President

Our committee is also seeking a new President who will guide our activities into the future, in particular, someone who can continue to carry the “promote and support” message.

There is little sense in leaving your interest in taking on this vital role to the last minute so I would encourage you to make your interest known NOW so that we can plan the next few months together as a committee.

We have had some interest from inside and outside of the committee but the positions are wide open so I encourage you to make yourself known and if need be join the Chamber or the committee now to get up to speed with our vision and activities.

The President’s position is one of great responsibility and we have a united team and very active and capable promotions officer to support the role so give me a call today to discuss your eligibility and vision for the region.

Our events

Yolanda continues to deliver great events and several new members this month. Our events are well attended and we are constantly met with positive comments from everyone who attends.

Unfortunately, the council had informed me that they are unable to contribute to her wages so we will need to look at alternative funding options to continue and expand our effectiveness in the region.

On a more positive note, I’ve met with Jodhi, the new director of Switch Tasmania to strengthen our ties and cooperation with their organisation, a partnership which is important for the businesses in our region.

I want to thank Howard for purchasing a raffle ticket for me at the professional breakfast but complain that I did not win the UCI Chair which upsets me greatly but anyway, let’s keep working to support and promote business in all our activities this month…

Thanks for being a great committee and members

Kind regards,

Nathan Kelly – CCCCI President

ph 0488661355