Capricornia Chamber of Commerce president Peter Fraser.
Capricornia Chamber of Commerce president Peter Fraser. Tamara MacKenzie ROK141016cbafra

Rocky business leader's must-read message for all operators

PETER FRASER has one piece of advice for Rockhampton business owners.

"If I had one wish it would be for all of our small business to have a really vibrant, effective web presence,” he said.

"Spend some money on how your business is seen in our digital economy.”

The Capricornia Chamber of Commerce President and banking executive said all local businesses big and small needed to look into it.

"They need to have websites that are going to be able to offer their products to those living outside of the region whether it be Emerald or Gladstone or even Freemantle or Melbourne,” Mr Fraser said.

"If you have a presence online you are able to sell to a wider audience rather than sell to our local face to face market.”

Mr Fraser said it is also good if you are competing with a business in your own backyard.

"And the better opportunity you have to sell to the locals as well.”

The Morning Bulletin has printed a series of articles in the last week after local businessman Wayne Riddell criticised the Queensland Government for failing to support the region's hospitality and entertainment sector.

This prompted new Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rouke to move to assure the region's small business community he understood the need to get the sector pumping again.

Mr O'Rourke said he had met high-profile businessman Grant Cassidy and intended catching up with other industry leaders, such as the Chamber of Commerce to get a deeper understanding of the challenges and best way forward.

Mr Fraser said the economy was certainly on the upswing at the moment.

"We are well and truly past the worst,” he said.

There are some good government level projects in the works at the moment which indicate the upswing.

"The Carbine project at Mount Morgan, the Carmichael mine.”

And a lot of interest from national and multinational businesses.

"H&M put a store at Stocklands and clearly they see a future here and putting it here instead of Mackay,” Mr Fraser said.

"We see Aldi wanting to bring not one but two stores so there is a lot of positive things as retailers we are seeing.

"We are in a pretty good position.”

Property prices are also on the rise.

"It's good for owners, good for everyone,” Mr Fraser said.

"The tenancy vacancy is getting lower.

"So there is a lot things to be happy about now.”

Mr Fraser said he met Mr O'Rouke last week.

"We had a very good conversation on the economy in general and our local economy here,” he said.

"I voiced my opinion on a range of different topics and said it would be great to see some action on Rockwood Weir.

"I have supported and will always support the flood levy here and would love to see the airport flood proofed.”

Underemployment is the Rockhampton region's biggest concern, Mr Fraser said.

"Underemployment is people qualified in one job and doing a job elsewhere,” he said.

"Or people who want to do 38 hours a week and are only doing 30 or 20 hours and want to work more.”

Aside from this, 2018 is shaping up to be a good year.

"There are businesses that are still doing it tough, I don't doubt that, but in general terms, things are going pretty good,” Mr Fraser said.

"I talk to parents who have adult children in apprenticeships who say they have work for six months or the next year.

"We have Beef Australia 2018 coming as well that will give us a big boost with all the national and international visitors.”

And there are some local council projects that need to get underway in 2018.

"We have some big projects, the Yeppoon Foreshore Development, Kershaw Gardens, CBD Riverbank, all of those sorts of things are coming to fruition.

"So we should be buoyant in our economy and that is backed up by national and multinationals that want to put their businesses here.”

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