September has been a busy month. The Bunbury Geographe Region is a buzz with several key events, LGA council elections and sheer business activity. The Chamber has delivered more than 10 very successful events in the last couple of months, and I’m pleased to say that I am taking a few days off to recharge.
We have seen glimpses of sunshine and the day light hours are getting longer. With October just around the corner, we are set for another busy couple of months in the lead up to Christmas. If you haven’t done so already, take a few days, recharge those batteries and make sure you get to the Christmas break in one piece (that’s if you are even getting a break). Please make the time to take care of your own wellbeing.
The Chamber hosted the State Budget Breakfast in partnership with the South West Development Commission. What a fabulous turnout. The presentation by Hon Don Punch MLA on behalf of the State Government, highlighted the strength of the WA economy and the surplus position this year’s budget sets us up for, while also headlining spending on social housing, health, mental health support, industry support and infrastructure. Comments from the floor revolved around the ongoing jobs and skills shortages in the region and how the government planned to support the region. There is significant investment into training and careers development initiatives and regional Skills Summits to ensure that solutions are designed fit-for-purpose for our regions. There is no quick fix. The government restated that the objective is to get an 80% critical mass of our community over 16 vaccinated so border restrictions can be lifted. The plan is to then establish safe international travel bubble solutions that won’t jeopardise Western Australia’s position. There were also comments regarding the government announcement to cease logging of our old growth forests by 2023 and funding for our region to cover destination marketing. This is aimed at offsetting the potential reduction in tourism to this region with the construction of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road.
BGCCI hosted a Meet the Mayoral Candidates session to provide an opportunity for our Bunbury Mayoral candidates to present their vision and commitment to the Mayoral position. All candidates acknowledged the invitation to the event. But for pre-existing commitments all would have participated. In the end 8 out of the 10 candidates spoke passionately about their candidacy and their individual approaches to take Bunbury into the next era of its development.
With the regional LGA Council elections and the Bunbury Mayoral election taking place over the next few weeks it’s important to note our responsibility as the business community. Where applicable as a representative of our community, I call on you to make sure that you vote in these upcoming elections. The leadership we elect within the region have the potential to take us forward into a new era. We are on the precipice of some great things within the region and the individuals that we elect now, will need to provide the strategic leadership and insight to take us forward and make this region even greater. Please ensure you make the time to vote.
Further on political matters we saw the announcement of the introduction of the Electoral Equality Bill into State Parliament. As part of our advocacy agenda BGCCI strongly support preferences for regions and unashamedly supporting economic and community development for this region. We will need to examine the content of this proposal carefully to ensure that our region and our hard-working business community does not loose it’s current voice. The Chamber will reach out to all sides of the debate over the next few weeks and will keep our members informed of developments.
BGCCI’s advocacy agenda continues to urge businesses to find new ways to operate and set themselves up more efficiently and effectively. In a world that continues to see the impacts of COVID-19 change life at a moment’s notice, businesses need to build provision and infrastructure that will allow for flexibility and services that can be delivered online. If we were faced with a Delta outbreak similar to that occurring on the East Coast, how well set-up is your business to adjust at a moment’s notice to operating online, or from home with no face-to-face services? It’s smart business practice to be prepared.
It can be hard to find time to work on your business, especially when you’re so busy just keeping your head above water and the wheels turning. Strategic planning is essential to visualise the trends and movements of your markets and then set your plans to position yourselves for the future. At the Chamber we can support you in reviewing your business model, please reach out to the Chamber, we’d love to help.