It’s been five weeks since the rain stopped. While the city is returning to a sense of normality, it is anything but business as usual for many. Here’s what we have been focusing on for the past month.
Our efforts to disseminate recovery information via our communication channels was appreciated by the community. Our Facebook page reached thousands of screens during the floods, with 393 engagements on 6 February alone.
One of our priorities is to continue to be a trusted source of information for businesses. Look out for our much-improved presence and smoother interface across our digital communication channels – Social Media, Email Campaign and our app.
The app, now available at the Google Store, is waiting for the tick of approval from the Apple Store. The free Townsvillechamber app is the only live event calendar in Townsville, with over 30 events posted right now. Our members are profiled with easy access map, phone number and website.
Members can also have their offers and promotions added to the wallet section. Get in touch with the office for details.
Our Board held its first meeting of the year in mid-February and made the decision to reach out to as many members as they could by the end of that month. The purpose of this exercise was simply to offer a listening ear to our members after the flood, hear of their experience and see how we could assist. We received great, positive feedback. Thanks to all who participated.
We also asked what Chamber’s role should be in the recovery. Many said to increase our “Buy Local” campaign efforts. As a result, each of our media commentaries during the floods and since have included that message.
We are currently working on a program of activities to demonstrate what goods and services are available in Townsville.
We are also looking to work with Townsville City Council to provide feedback on their procurement process. This stem from a joint presentation by Townsville City Council Procurement unit and the Local Government Association “Local Buy”, delivered to members on 27 February.
The event was a discussion about Council and Local Buy procurement policy and process. Contact us for a copy of both presentations.
Meetings & Events
Meeting requests are coming hard and fast. Events are also popping up at an accelerated pace.
A meeting between the Insurance Council of Australia, the insurers, re-construction panels, local builders, and business networks HIA, Master Builders, TEL and the Chamber was held at Council today. Local concerns about work allocation, assessment, builders and tradies registration portal, process, and information were discussed. One of the key actions is how to improve the flow of information between local builders, tradies, panels and insurers.
The Queensland Small Business Champion, Maree Adshead, has been in Townsville twice in the last month, keeping tabs on the recovery process and informing the Minister for Small Business. We have met with Townsville MP Scott Steward, and Seat of Herbert MP Cathy O’Toole as well as the Mayor to discuss recovery activities.
We are also agitating regarding the grants available to small businesses. Grants focus on clean up and recovery but not operations.
We think the quickest way for a regional community to get back on its feet after a disaster is to ensure its businesses are working at capacity as quickly as possible. For a lot of small businesses, it means increasing their cash flow so they can keep their staff, sustain a higher than normal inventory, market themselves, and act on the opportunities of a disrupted economy.
We are working in the background on the current grant criteria so they can be accessed by more small businesses.
The Business Council of Australia is hosting an event about recovery at the end of March, and our President Debbie Rains will part of the panel.
The Australian Women in Leadership Foundation will be here in mid-April and the Chamber will lend a hand. And JCU is hosting an event on the roles of Chambers of Commerce in Singapore and Australia and I will be on the panel.
Between recovery associated meetings and events, we put meetings with our members above all. We met with eight Gold members at our monthly round table in March and look forward to an induction of new members next week. I personally meet up three one-on-one meetings with member every week and our President recorded 22 hours of representation in February alone.
Our information sessions have been well attended in February and March – Single Touch Payroll and Procurement. In March we are hosting a presentation on Conflict management and one about the jobs of the future with our partner TAFE Queensland Northern Region. Check our website, our app or Facebook page for details.
Our small business experienced a big change. Our part time administrator, Vivien Evans, finished in December. We have hired a full-time administrator last week, Jemimah Phillott. We also welcomed a JCU intern, Mikaela Comas, who will be with us a day a week until June.
We thank Vivien for her contributions and welcome Jemimah’s and Mikaela’s.