BGCCI President’s Report – May 2020
There is no doubt that the consequences of the restrictions on many of our business communities and our lifestyles due to COVID 19 Pandemic over the last two months have precipitated a sequence of economic circumstances, interventions and challenges that we have never experienced before and that will continue to have a significant impact on the way we conduct our business, reshape our economy and lifestyles.
It has also been a challenging and emotional time for all of us at the Chamber in dealing with many of our members who have been severely impacted by these restrictions or who have had to close their businesses, but on the positive side there have also been those businesses and employers who have managed to access the various financial support mechanisms or pivot their business offerings to survive during this crisis. There are also a few business sectors and significant employers who have been able to continue business as usual or grow and flourish in this new and diverse marketplace.
Our thanks and recognition are due to our BGCCI team and Executive who have remained accessible to our members and the business community by working throughout this restrictive period either from home, via tele-conferencing, online meetings and/or limited in office sessions. We have managed to maintain direct contact with all our key stakeholders to address issues and concerns in real time and provide direct access and feedback to our Federal, State, Local Governments and Members of Parliament. The BGCCI and our Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the CCIWA, have done a magnificent job and have been in the forefront providing and receiving market intelligence in addressing business critical issues with our regulators and our State and Federal agencies.
While we have been focussing on the survival phase and adapting our business strategies in dealing with this crisis, our attention has now turned to the Way Forward and how we can fast track the Recovery Phase of our regional economy and business communities. The general financial support and stimulus packages will diminish within six months and we will all need to find a point of difference in rebuilding business confidence and returning to a new form of business as usual in a very different and challenging economic environment. To this end we have been promoting the fast tracking of significant Federal and State capital and infrastructure projects in our region to create jobs and sustain our local businesses. It is encouraging to see this in action on the Bunbury Outer Ring Road project, Transforming Bunbury’s Waterfront – the Casuarina Drive landscaping project and the Southern Ports berth infrastructure work in Bunbury Port.
We also need our local governments to play their part in stimulating our local economies by drawing down on their reserves to support a reduction in business rates and direct costs, to accelerate local capital expenditure projects in our communities and to create and facilitate community events that will attract visitors into our region.
We are all in this this together and we will have to find new ways of working within the restrictions imposed upon us and create opportunities to sustain our economic viability and well being of our communities.
Be positive, be supportive, be safe and take care of each other.
President – Bunbury Geographe Chamber of Commerce and Industry
14 May 2020