Words from the CEO - April

April 30, 2024
CEO Update

We are thrilled to be running the Bunbury Geographe Business Excellence Awards this year - entries are currently open! There is a category for every size business with additional categories for startups, sustainability, innovation, and aboriginal business. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and outstanding achievements of our region’s business community.

April has been a bustling month at the Chamber. Our engagements with members and business community groups have been as comprehensive as ever. In fact, this month might have been even busier, considering my impending month-long leave. Our capable team, comprising Amy, Carlie, and Nicole, will be available to assist our members during this period. Keep an eye out for their creative contributions in the upcoming newsletter!

We value learning from peers and colleagues, acknowledging the importance of leadership and cultivating a robust culture, all within a region that energizes and commits to sustaining our livelihoods. As a team, we pride ourselves on getting on with the job at hand. Recently, under the leadership of President Danny Griffin, our Executive Committee approved our 2024 Strategic Intent. Our purpose is crystal clear: to facilitate business connections, share knowledge, and advocate for our community.

How we work:

• We have a skilled Executive Board.

• We build relationships.

• We empower people.

• We are a trusted brand.

• We have an authentic culture.

What has been happening the Chamber this month:

Member visits

Outdoor World Bunbury: Cono and Steve Galati, the driving forces behind Outdoor World Bunbury, left an indelible impression. Their unwavering passion and visionary approach to business were evident. We were so impressed that we extended an invitation for them to become GOLD partners, a role they graciously accepted. Our heartfelt thanks to them for their unwavering support and active engagement in our community.

LGM Industries: A productive meeting with Andrew Lardner, representing our corporate sponsor, LGM. Through our conversations, we facilitated connections to local training organizations, grant opportunities, and avenues for LGM staff to benefit from chamber resources.

GHD: Fionnuala Hannon, from our corporate sponsor GHD, shared valuable insights into their multifaceted business. We’re thrilled to secure their expertise for an upcoming lunch and learn event later this year.

Broun Communications: Lisa from Broun Communications had an idea for a workshop to help build capability for our members. I love it when people feel comfortable to take the time to meet and discuss ideas. This builds knowledge and most of all connection to our members.


• Launching our inaugural Bunbury Geographe Business Excellence Awards for 2024, nominations and applications are now open.  We are inviting our business community to support our event, and thank ATC, Albemarle, Aqwest and Qube for jumping on board with their support as at today. Winners of our awards will have the opportunity to submit into the Regional Chamber Awards in Perth in early 2025.

• We applied to Melbourne Business School for their Executive MBA students to provide Pro Bon services on a project that analyses’ our current membership model and sustainability for the future. Excitedly our application was accepted, and we are in our third week of the project with findings due to be presented in early May. Thank you to all our members who have agreed to participate in member feedback interviews.

• Our Executive Committee, led by President Danny Griffin and Vice President Lynne Harwood approved our 2024 Strategic Intent.

• Being one of our networks of Chambers in the South West invited by South West Development Commission to screen applicants to apply for the Regional Economic Development (RED) Grants newly announced (pictured in the article image).  We have an experienced consultant resourced to meet with potential applicants to discuss their projects before handing them to SWDC for further discussion.  We will also be responsible to market the RED grants through our channels to reach as many businesses as possible. For more information on the RED grants please contact our office on 9791 2292.


• Regional Networking – where stakeholders come together to share what’s happening in their region.

• Fortnightly catch-up with CTV (Creative Tech Village) to discuss collaborations in bringing tech and creative learning events to Bunbury Geographe.

• Discussed with Head of Trade & Investment at CCIWA with Michael Carter bringing an event to Bunbury.

• Caught up with Don Punch to check in on the Chamber happenings and how the region is going.

• Our Finance & Risk Committee meet monthly led by Mike Ansell, overseeing our governance and risk.

Lost & Found organisers from Ferguson Valley Marketing Group introduced the new event managers for this year’s Lost & Found festival.  Fabulous to see the Bunbury Geographe region getting behind this event.

• Each month Chambers from all over WA meet online to share their stories.  Led by Regional CCIWA, Kitty Prodonovic, we learn so much from each other.

• Connecting Bunbury Regional Trade Training Centre to Wind Developers – meeting our strategic intent to connect businesses.

• The newly named South West Community College (previously Bunbury Community College) and new staff member Taryn Glasson met with us to discuss how their students can be connected into industry. Looking forward to greater collaboration on how to make this happen.

• Wellington Forrest Project met with me to discuss their significant plans for the area and if our Chamber could offer a ‘Letter of Support’.  This project offers something unique and a tourism offering that is usually found deeper in the south. It will activate our region and bring awareness to the flora and fauna in the area by fencing the area to protect the habitats. A stunning treetop architect designed installation if financed and approved will be a stunning addition to the project.

• Meeting with the City of Bunbury Community Safety and Emergency Management Team to discuss the Halifax Project, and the gifting of the cameras in the industrial park to ensure business owners in the park are aware who has a camera and how the community police officer can work to mitigate crime across Davenport and Halifax.

Advisory Groups

• Tourism Advisory Group with City of Bunbury – a draft copy of the tourism plan for Bunbury and surrounds was presented.

• Bunbury Events Advisory Group meet monthly to discuss grant applications, it is a way of me keeping in touch with the broader picture of events and ensure to share any knowledge to the region. Information from these meetings is also feed back to our members.


• Our first Lunch N Learn for 2024 – Telecommunications.  Learning from Telsta, Optus and NBN, the questions businesses have about connectivity.  Charles Jenkinson form RDA South West reported it was the most informative session he has been to in a very long time, particularly around connectivity for businesses when big events come to towns. The overview of the day can be found here.

• Tourism WA invited Chambers from all over the state to connect Industry to Job Seekers through a pilot program.  WE partnered with SR TAFE to ask facilitators to deliver RSA and Barista Training then got creative by hiring a bus from Go West to take stakeholders and job seekers out to meet industry in Harvey, thanks to Boola Bida Dreaming and then off Melville Park Farm in Brunswick before jumping over to Capel to visit Scott at Capel Marron Farm.  The afternoon led into a final event at Market Eating House to hear from co-owner Bec Pyke and Emma Brown from Australia’s South West and Renae Giles from South West Development Commission.  Outcomes from this project were connecting job seekers direct to industry which was deemed a success.

One young job seeker struggling from extreme shyness, had never had a job, felt safe to ask for a volunteer role with one of the businesses on the bus tour.

Lunch and Learn - AI for Business. Thank you to nbn® Australia and Edith Cowan University School of Business and Law for partnering with us to bring this wonderful event to Bunbury. The speakers covered all aspects of AI, what it is, how to use it, ethics & safety, and how it can work in your business. There is so much to learn.

• Attended the announcement of RED Grants, Round 7 opening at Foodey. The Foodey team were previous winners of a grant to assist in building the capability in production for cooked meals and have said they would be another year or two before commencing this much needed service if it wasn’t for the grant they received.

Business After Hours event for April was held at Aqwest.  The event was a huge success learning about the importance of their service to our region.  Claire Anderson, Director of Corporate Services is also an Executive Committee Member for Bunbury Geographe CCI and leads the SW Leaders Portfolio.

• Laying a wreath at the ANZAC day service is always a reminder of the lives lost.  My uncle was a 10th Light Horseman at Gallipoli and was saved by sheer good luck of ducking on his horse at the right time, and went on to live to the ripe old age of 107.


• I joined Stan on ABC Radio to discuss price gouging in our supermarkets and the looming cashless society.

• We have three media partners Seven; SCA and South West Times.  This month we have been discussing producing ads to share with our community on Seven. And then to help booster knowledge about our Business Excellence Awards, we have collaborated with Southern Cross Austero to design a suite of radio ads to remind our community to apply.

With all that said, you can see it has been a busy month. Please remember that in my absence, our team are here to help you. Please give them a call on 9791 2292.