Diverse Chamber’s greater Mossman representation

Diverse Chamber’s greater Mossman representation

Published Monday 1 February 2016

Diversity, innovation and stronger collaboration are the driving forces behind the new-look Douglas Chamber of Commerce, which is already showing impressive results.

Since assuming the president’s role, Helen De Ross has not been shy to take the Chamber to the wider community and among the significant successes is forging closer links with Mossman.

“A key factor is our diverse committee that now includes retail as well as greater Mossman representation.  We alternate meetings between Port Douglas and Mossman to encourage more Mossman and Daintree participation which has already proven successful.

“We decided on this strategy to, ideally, have a balance of representation as we have found the areas are specialised and vastly different.  While we have always attempted to understand the needs of the Mossman business community, it is much more successful when you have people from the area who can provide a greater insight,” said Ms De Ross.

Other success stories include:

  • To assist the retail industry, the Chamber introduced a VIP Shopping Night to entice locals to reacquaint themselves with their local stores and support local businesses. This was also a platform for retailers to promote their business to the community.  Many participants viewed it as a success and more want to be involved this year.

  • The Chamber has been successful in pitching to the producers of Real Housewives of Melbourne to film on location.  This will showcase Port Douglas, Mossman and Daintree and will be viewed by millions in Australia and the US.

  • They have also been working with Mayor Julia Leu, NBN and Telstra to find a solution to improving Internet connectivity. This critical issue was flagged at last year’s Business Forum.

  • The Chamber has enticed a number of new members through its discounted annual fee of $50. This is available for all of 2016.

Ms De Ross said with momentum building for the March 19 Council election, it is the Chamber’s belief that Port Douglas needs representation on Council as the township needs locals who understand the unique challenges.

“Port Douglas is a distinctive area and provides a majority of rate payer funds for Council,” she said, adding that the Chamber will be involved with Community Election Forums.

Ms De Ross said The Reef Marina upgrade is a priority for the Chamber as it is the hub of tourist activity which is the lifeblood of the area.

“Committee members have met with stakeholders to gain an understanding of the issues, offering advice and supportive solutions.  The Chamber understands the importance of the upgrade; not only to the Marina which houses hundreds of businesses itself, but also the wider community who rely on the hundreds of millions of dollars the tourism industry brings to the region.

“We also understand Council’s requirement to support our Commercial Fishing Industry as this has historical significance as well as providing fresh fish to our hospitality industry.

“We are available to support the process and hope a positive outcome can be reached so the Marina can continue to make the strides it’s made improving our gateway to the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.