Advance Rockhampton Executive Manager Greg Bowden and Capricornia Chamber of Commerce President Phil Henry.
Advance Rockhampton Executive Manager Greg Bowden and Capricornia Chamber of Commerce President Phil Henry.

Key business groups join forces to make most of Rocky boom

Advance Rockhampton and the Capricornia Chamber of Commerce have officially joined forces this week in a bid to grow local business precincts.

Speaking about the partnership at the picturesque Rockhampton riverbank, Advance Rockhampton executive Greg Bowden said both groups had a pro-business and pro-region agenda and it just made sense to combine forces.

"We are all about the region, the region is buzzing right now, we need to make sure we capitalise on that and get the region moving, work with stakeholders and get things moving," he said.

A survey has been released online by Advance Rockhampton with the aim to gather feedback about what can be done to help businesses thrive.

"It will give us so much data to work to help the region and help retailers across all our precincts to become better at what they do," Mr Bowden said.

The two organisations plan to host several industry events which will allow business owners to collaborate.

"We need to be speaking together to become more and more successful as a region," Mr Bowden said.

With a motto of "evolution not revolution", Mr Bowden is looking to create a foundation first.

"We have to make small steps to make all our precincts work," he said.

"It's about that collaboration, it's about industry working together to make those small steps.

"There will be some catalyst projects that will happen over the coming months, years, that will change the face of Rockhampton whether that will be in retail or industry.

"We have some amazing, large projects happening right now that are sustaining jobs for the region but we need to always have our eye on the ball of what happens after that four to five years, when those projects start to wind down.

"I just want business and industry in general to talk and collaborate.

"We will succeed as one team Rockhampton, we need to be team Rocky and get everyone speaking to each other.

"Everyone forms part of a liveable city."

The CBD has always been a contentious issue in the region and is now even more so with the closure of Kern Arcade earlier this year.

Mr Bowden said Advance Rockhampton was speaking with southern markets to encourage the growth of hospitality businesses in the CBD.

There are also plans to wrap some of the shop fronts to make they look more appealing.

"When people come here for large events like Rockynats and Beef Week, we want to put our best foot forward so they go 'wow and say this place has changed'," he said.

Capricornia Chamber of Commerce president Phil Henry welcomed the partnership and said it was all about collaboration and working more closely together.

"We are working towards the same end," he said,

"Our two organisations have similar agendas and this relationship gives businesses hope that two like-minded agencies are focused on building business in the Rockhampton region.

"We have a great opportunity to build a CBD precinct that we can be proud of but that will take all parties to be working together towards that same common goal.

"We believe the region is in a prime position to launch itself into the future and continue to offer an environment for businesses to prosper and grow."

The aim of the chamber is to be there for small business and advocate to government. The chamber regularly hosts meetings with its 180 members.

The main concerns raised by members have been the effects of COVID-19, the end of JobKeeper and payroll tax.

"Nobody sees the sense in payroll tax," Mr Henry said.

"We want people to employ more people, we want businesses to grow, for every additional person you take on after you are above the threshold, you are paying additional payroll tax, that makes no sense."

Mr Henry said the region was in a boom period at the moment and needed to make the most of it.

"You can't afford to let really good economic conditions go," he said.

"What we need to do is make sure we have the different sectors talking to each other so everything flows through.

"Retail is the one everyone talks about so we need to make sure the conditions for retail are the best they can be."

Participate in the survey here.

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