NEW ROLES: Chamber of Commerce committee changes
THE Bundaberg and District Chamber of Commerce held their annual AGM breakfast this week with new roles for some if its committee members.
Former chamber president Yale Morgan was returned as chamber president for 2020-21.
Mr Morgan was previously president of the chamber for six years before he announced in August last year he was stepping down from the role.
He was succeeded by outgoing president Tim Sayre.
Mr Morgan said it felt good to be back in the role.
He said there were some positive and optimistic figures presented at Tuesday morning’s meeting, but there were still challenges ahead.
“There were some positive and optimistic figures presented, so it should be something to look at in the form of encouraging businesses,” he said.
“There are some challenges still and there will continue to be challenges, certain sectors are struggling to find their way, but we do have other sectors which are prospering.
“It’s really just trying to make sure that if there’s any gaps within the market how best jump on those gaps.”
Mr Morgan thanked the committee and outgoing president Mr Sayre for their work in the last year.
“We’re also looking forward to furthering the business community,” he said.
“We’ll be focusing on business confidence and will be encouraging good news stories, particularly those businesses opening up during this time.
“There are a number of businesses who have taken the time and opportunity to open and it’s very encouraging.
“Other businesses have chosen to expand which is exciting, and of those businesses who are still facing challenges we want to make sure there are those mechanisms of support and opportunities which can be had for them as well.”
Mr Sayre reflected on his time as president of the chamber of commerce, describing the last 12 months as one of the most interesting and different in living memory due to the impacts of the Covid pandemic.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a year like we’ve had in 2020,” he said.
“When I became president, one of the things I said was chamber was going to step up our advocacy and our support for businesses and we certainly got the opportunity to do that this year.
“We were involved in multiple think tanks, focus groups, committees and so forth to make sure we had the economic response right, to make sure our businesses in Queensland had the opportunity to have their issues during Covid heard.
“I’m really proud of the fact that when we combined all the chambers together nine of the 10 policy changes chambers of commerce put together were adopted by government, and for us here we had a significant role in two of them.”
Mr Sayre said at the height of the pandemic in Bundaberg, he lost track of the amount of calls he had received from local businesses in fear of going under.
But while restrictions are easing across the state, Mr Sayre said the crisis isn’t over yet.
“We’re not out of this by any stretch of the imagination, but those businesses are still able to continue operating for a variety of reasons and I like to think chamber played a small role in keeping some of those going,” he said.
“The job’s not over for chamber, there’s still things that need to be pushed to ensure our businesses are able to move out of the restrictions they are still under in a timely fashion.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done … we did a Christmas miracle campaign last year because we thought Christmas was going to be tough, but it’s shaping up an even tougher Christmas this year.
“If we have people struggle to get through Christmas then they’ll really find it difficult to get through the first quarter next year.
“So we want to make sure as JobKeeper gets wound back and less businesses are able to access that, we want to make sure there’s additional support for them.”
While his time as chamber president might have come to an end, Mr Sayre isn’t going anywhere.
He’s taking on a new role which will see him continue working with the Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce as well as other chambers.
In the new role he’ll be helping other chambers continue to grow and become stronger and help them better represent their businesses and he’s excited for the challenge ahead.
Mr Sayre thanked chamber of commerce members and the business community for their support over the last 12 months.
“I know that the incoming committee will carry on the work the outgoing committee did in continuing to support the businesses of Bundaberg as we see what the rest of 2020 and 2021 brings forward for us,” he said.
The Bundaberg and District Chamber of Commerce Committee
President: Yale Morgan
Vice President: Melissa Brooke
Secretary: Jo Donnison
Treasurer: Bevan Moller
Committee: Steve Howard, Chris Kettle, Horst Feierabend, Nikki Sorbello and Michael Cavallaro.