At Remembrance Day this year, myself and Kristy Gillian the CEO of BGCCI observed one minutes silence in the traditional setting of Hale House next to State Parliament. It was fitting to see flags at half mast, people wearing their poppies and the whole precinct paying respect as the clock struck eleven. ‘Lest we Forget’.
We were there to attend the regional Chambers of Commerce conference. This involved meeting various members of the State Parliament and understanding the policies affecting our regions across Western Australia. Significant discussions involved the mandatory vaccination announcement of 25th October, the shortage of skills while our borders remained closed and the Electoral Equality Bill 2021. Feedback was provided on the slowness of getting the Health Orders issued to support the announcement of the mandatory vaccinations. Many of the Chambers gathered to express their concerns that there was no detail of how to implement these, and this vacuum was creating significant queries and concerns from their members. We were informed by the Minister that the details would not be far away.
The skills shortages that many of our member businesses are experiencing is not only been felt in the South West but across the State. Seek currently have over 26 000 jobs advertised for Western Australia on their portal. Many shared the fact that some businesses are closing on certain days of the week and the tourist related operators are fearing winding back their services as the busy Christmas period beckons. It is therefore pleasing to see the single jab vaccination rate for the State above 85%. An important climbing metric which will be key to unlocking our borders safely and inviting workers to our businesses.
The Electoral Equality Bill 2021 has passed through the Upper House recently and will come into effect from now. Rather than Upper House MPs being chosen from six regions of varying size, the whole State will serve as a single electorate with 37 members elected under a “one-vote, one-value” system. It was the surprise of this reform and what appears to be minimum consultation with the regions that was the discussion point at the conference. Since the conference, a letter has been sent to the Premiers office highlighting our collective concerns regarding the possible diminishment of our regional voice in the future.
Last month, we met as a Chamber Executive and took a pause to plan our strategic agenda over the next three years and beyond. It was great to have the diverse talents of the team together at Chamber House as we visioned what the future could be and then converted many of these aspirations into plans. To bring the strategy to life, several sub committees were formed led by Executive team members. We are all very excited that these sub-committees will deliver great benefits to our members and the value they obtain from the Chamber. The sub-committees include:
- Finance Committee
- Historical and Heritage Committee
- Emerging Leaders Committee
- Capital Planning Committee
- Women in Business
- Marketing and Membership
- Geographe for Purpose
- Bunbury Area Development Planning
As the Festive Season races towards us we will continue to plan and structure the mechanisms for these new sub committees to launch in the New Year.
Safe & Happy Trading