Council seeks closer business ties
Thursday 20 January 2011
A Cairns Regional Council visitation program aimed at bringing together Councillors and local business owners is designed to increase understanding of the local economy.
Mayor Val Schier said monthly meetings with individual proprietors at their factories and places of business are an informal and collaborative template for increasing mutual awareness.
“This is an excellent way for Councillors to enhance their knowledge of the local business community. We will actually see what owners and employees do on a daily basis. In turn they can get a better grasp on the role Council plays in economic development.
“We will listen to their concerns, the challenges they face under current economic circumstances and suggestions they may have to expand and strengthen the relationship between Council and the business community.”
The inaugural meeting will be held at Cairns Marble, a local industry declared Exporter of the Year at the 2010 Cairns Regional Export Awards. Established in Cairns for more than 20 years, the company’s major market is Italy.
“The visitation program was created by Council’s Economic Development and Innovation Team and this visit will be the first of many to come. We are aimed at capturing brilliant ideas and developing new strategies for diversification that will eventuate from these interactions,” Cr Schier said.
“All Councillors are informed of the businesses involved and are invited to attend each meeting.”
In addition to the visitation program, Council hosts the Mayoral Business Breakfast, a small scale informal morning meeting with members of the local business community. The morning meetings encourage open discussion on current issues that impact the local economy.
“The breakfasts are held monthly and are an additional opportunity for Councillors to communicate with local business representatives. Councillors can find out where they are able to assist and promote businesses, especially in their respective divisions,” Cr Schier said.
“These two new programs have recently been introduced as part of a broader focus on council business engagement. Any business operators interested in being involved with either program can give Council’s Economic Development and Innovation Team a call and register.”
Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce president, Ken Dobbs, said the organisation already has a close working relationship with Council.
"What we really need is good dialogue with Liz (Collyer - Acting Regional Manager for Douglas), and Julia Leu which we've got. We do communicate very well with Council," he said.
Mr Dobbs encouraged business owners to contact the Chamber and use the knowledge and skills of the board members.
"Hopefully business would let the Chamber know of their issues so we can do something about it," he said.