Presidents Update – November 2019

BGCCI President’s Report – November 2019


As most businesses wind down in the last quarter of the year and contemplate a festive season just under six weeks away, we start to reflect on that 2019 To Do List and see what still needs to be done in the limited time ahead.  The Chamber business cycle follows similar patterns; however, this period affords us the opportunity as a new executive team to meet with our sponsors and corporate partners to get their insights and priority objectives before we re-calibrate and then start planning for 2020.

In preparation for this review of the BGCCI Strategy, our executive team members will also consult with their own business communities to explore the areas that we need to focus on in the year ahead.  Our planning session can then draw on a broader view of key objectives of the different business sectors.  These sectors are: –

  • Retail, Hospitality and Tourism
  • Minerals and Energy
  • Manufacturing, processing and construction
  • Infrastructure, Freight, Logistics and Transport
  • Education, Training and Development
  • Community Organisations, and, in particular sport, recreation, health & welfare
  • Profit for Purpose Groups (NFP’s)
  • Professional Services

We are also focusing our attention on: –

  • Marketing and Advertising opportunities for the BGCCI and our members
  • Setting our calendar of Events, Seminars and Workshops for 2020
  • Membership promotions and growth opportunities in regional projects
  • Connecting with our Young Achievers and emerging SW Leaders
  • Collaboration and cooperation with the other regional business associations
  • Improved interactions with our six Local Governments
  • Engaging with Regional Development (RDA) and the South West Development Commission (SWDC) to promote local participation and content in our regional projects
  • Participating and promoting Regional Economic Development Initiatives to create growth and attract investment into the Bunbury Geographe Region.

The BGCCI and the WA Regional Chambers of Commerce & Industry have been actively involved over the past month in discussions with the WA Parliamentary Leaders, State departments and other regional stakeholders on economic planning and  development reviews to keep the focus on our regions and to ensure that we obtain commitments to participate in and drive investment into the South West.  The 46 regional chambers of business in WA, representing the majority of the business sector, have a significant voice to lobby and advocate for the development and investment initiatives required to grow our regions and for better participation in major regional projects.

The Chamber has also represented the business community, in three meetings so far, on the Bunbury Geographe Sub-Regional Strategy Economy Working Group for the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. These are facilitated workshops to provide input on the strategic policy directions and drivers from the economy, transport, environment and urban settlement working groups to the Steering Group which will report into the South West Region Planning and Infrastructure Framework review and update.  These strategic directions and growth areas will be aligned with the review of the Bunbury Geographe Growth plan.

In October, I presented a regional view of the barriers and opportunities for investment in Freight & Logistics at their conference at the Perth Convention Centre. There were significant discussions about the role of local governments in unlocking potential to improve supply chain efficiency and future for infrastructure investment in WA.  We are looking forward to the presentations and visit of Infrastructure WA in November in their SW Stakeholders Engagement Forum in Bunbury.

Our CEO Mark Seaward and I represented the BGCCI at the WA Regional Chambers of Commerce & Industry Forum meetings with our State Leaders at Parliament House including the Premier, Government Ministers and Leaders of the Opposition to discuss the importance of regional WA and the key initiatives to encourage and maintain investment and growth. We advocated for a fairer share of the infrastructure and development spending to ensure that the regions are not disadvantaged by the focus on the Perth Metro as a newly designated regional area.

The BORR project team presented the Local Business Briefing on 6 November which outlined: –

  • Project scope, background and objectives
  • Project Challenges
  • Aboriginal participation
  • Local business opportunities
  • Project delivery process and timelines

There are significant employment opportunities and requirements for our South West industries to provide services, materials and products for this project and their contractors.  They have shared their initial projections and requirements for this project, which lists these opportunities for our region and will provide a guideline for engagement with their new project team to promote local support and content.  They are moving towards shortlisting two of the four current contract proponents by the end of 2019 and then provide requests for proposals by the end of March 2020.

We attended and presented at the South West Leaders Connect event and graduation function in Bunbury last week, which gave us an opportunity to reach out to the local business leaders and emerging leaders and showcase what the BGCCI stands for and who we represent in the business community. It is encouraging to see the good work and connections of the WA Leaders in the South West.

The City of Darwin Mayor, their CEO and GM of Innovation, Growth & Development visited Bunbury last week to share the background information and implementation of the Darwin Connect project in a Smart Communities and Innovation Forum hosted by the City of Bunbury.  Their presentation shared an overview of the ‘Switching on Darwin’ project to Connect, Collaborate and Create a Smart City of Darwin and provided an insight into the background, funding, aspects and impacts of a broader regional deal.

The end of week highlight was the 25th year celebration at the St. John of God Foundation at their hospital in Bunbury to celebrate their wonderful achievements and to showcase their support and initiatives in improving healthy outcomes for patients in the South West.

Ongoing discussions and engagement on the Central Bunbury and other CBD activation projects with the City of Bunbury will continue after their public presentations on the Civic and Cultural Precinct Community Forum on the 28 November and also their Business Street Meet on 4 December to provide updates on the local projects and the launch of the Economic Development plan and the Bunbury City Centre action plan.

The month ahead will be busy with several engagement and community meetings, so I hope you will be able to enjoy some personal time off and remember to shop local and support our local businesses.


Rob Skipsey

President BGCCI

25 November 2019

Gold Partners