September Words from our CEO

Kaya!

Welcoming in September and the second month of Djilba shows signs of some warmer and dryer weather approaching. To point out the obvious, weather plays a key role in productivity, growth and economic activity. With the wettest (and possibly coolest) winter in 30 plus years, the prospect of warmer weather is an indication that activity is likely to increase. For some this will be a welcome change, while others may be cringing at the thought of taking on any more than they already have on their plate.

There is mixed sentiment within the BGCCI membership community, with an obvious difference between large and small businesses and their ability to absorb or defer their workload. Smaller businesses are reporting that the shortages of housing and accommodation in the region are exacerbating their challenges with sufficiently resourcing their businesses. On the flipside, our sources suggest that requests for commercial residential leases are negligible. Either bigger businesses with the capacity to offer housing subsidies to attract resources are not needing to offer such incentives or they are managing with their current workforce. Smaller businesses with much tighter margins don’t have the luxury of offering these types of carrots to attract people to the region, and they seem to be the ones this situation is impacting the most.

At the Bunbury – South West Skills Summit on Monday evening, hosted by the State Government and the Department of Training and Workforce Development, a consistent message rang true, “how do we attract the skills and resources we need to this region and create a sustainable future for our community?” There was great representation in the room from a cross section of business and industry, education and training providers, healthcare and community services, government and not for profits. There were aspirational ideals as well as practical and workable solutions that chipped away at some of the barriers preventing employment in our community. The two main questions being asked were: 1) What practical actions should be taken to address the South West’s skill needs over the coming months? 2) What actions should be taken now to avoid future skills shortages?

At the core of these discussions was reassuringly a united voice calling for promotion of all that the South West has to offer to attract and retain workers and families. To deliver on that, BGCCI is calling on government, industry and education providers to work together to translate individual activity into a coordinated action plan that will build the conditions the South West community needs.  Establishment and relocation of industry and investment, manufacturing and government to this region won’t happen on its own, we need intention and coordination. We need to speak with one voice to deliver the outcomes that are needed.

Resonating through the discussions in the room was the belief that the future of our economy revolves around our youth, we need to remove the barriers for our young people staying in this region and building their careers, starting families and creating roots of their own. We need earlier engagement in career conversations that can help them identify pathways to attractive jobs in the South West. We need to find practical ways to reduce transport barriers and inequity in our pathways for our disadvantaged groups.

In the mix is the important of reopening our borders and international travel bubbles. Critically, via the Federal and State plan to ensure our community is 80% vaccinated by November 2021 will enable the flow of migrant workers to support some of our struggling industries, some with productivity attrition levels at 20% to 30% and a very limited pool of talent.

Growth and prosperity bring challenges, but as a community, while compared to many places around Australia and the world we are incredibly blessed to live in the South West. Now is the time to work together and build the independence of this region.

The South West Future Jobs and Skills Forum is scheduled for 28 September 2021. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience immersive exhibitions of innovation and advances in technology, witnessing how these changes are transforming the job and skills within the region.  If you are interested in attending the event, please go to www.bgcci.com.au for more information.

Our August Business After Hours event was hosted by Fullers Co-Op. It was great to hear about how Kris and Ben overcame challenges to create the immersive and engaging space that is the Fuller Co+Op. The BGCCI staff loved how they have provided local businesses and entrepreneurs with the opportunity to grow and develop their business in a supportive and collaborative co-working environment.  The Paper Route is a fabulous edition to the space and if you are looking for somewhere quiet to go and have a great cup of coffee then head out to the venue.

BGCCI Events – September

1 September      Local Jobs Marketplace – Care and Community Services; Aged Care, Health Care and Disability Services Jobs

  9.00am – 1.00pm

10 September   2021-22 State Budget Breakfast Presented by South West Development Commission and BGCCI

7.00am – 9.00pm

23 September   Lunch & Learn: Mare Lawyers

11.30 – 1.30pm light lunch included

28 September   South West Future Jobs and Skills Forum

11.00am – 7.00pm @ BREC

29 September   Earth 2 OceanBusiness After Hours – Members Only Sundowner

5.15pm – 7.30pm

6 October            Local Jobs Marketplace – Horticulture and Agriculture Jobs

 9.00am – 1.00pm

Now is a great time to join a growing and thriving community of like-minded businesses. For more information about how you can become a member contact the Chamber 9791 2292 or admin@bgcci.com.au

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