No quick fix, but our own Chamber would be a start
WOW we have to usually offer free beer to get this many people to attend. This was pretty much the opening sentence from the Chamber of Commerce Industry Queensland (CCIQ) Brisbane representative at the meeting to get a Rockhampton Chamber of Commerce started.
About 50 people attended, some just observing, most though out of interest. What were those who took two hours out of their Friday morning hoping to hear and do as a result of the meeting? Talking to a few I believe enabling Rockhampton region take better advantage of the opportunities of its geographic location in relation to the resource activity that Mackay, Gladstone and Emerald appear to have, or simply put, the frustration of seeing Rockhampton lag behind was a motivating reason to attend.
However, no magic, quick solution was provided; other than the strength of numbers in lobbying governments in attempting to achieve desired objectives.
I left the meeting expecting "more'', maybe hearing from another local Chamber on how they operate for example. Energy was in the room; however it wasn't harnessed at the time. The plan is to do this later with invitations and more detailed information of how a local chamber can be resurrected. Hopefully this will prove to be the correct strategy.
It was great to see the interest in forming a local Chamber. Though on what its role will be, how it would resource the activities expected of it and its short term goals that will need to be achieved to gain its credibility with both government and the local business community, will need to be undertaken.
Unfortunately there is no magic, quick fix (though a major project like a bullet train between Rockhampton and Gladstone could be a real game changer) to extra stimulate Rockhampton's growth.
A local group with an agenda of pushing buy local, educating local businesses on new growth strategies, networking and being vocal about local issues affecting business like the Aussie Sheds scenario may not make page one of the newspaper, but in collaboration with the efforts of the CCIQ, Capricorn Enterprise and Council, can make a worthy contribution to bettering the Rockhampton Region and Central Queensland.