RE­VI­TAL­IS­ING PORT DOU­GLAS Lead­ers are what is needed

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

DE­LIV­ER­ING the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of Port Dou­glas will re­quire a strong co-or­di­nated ap­proach and ac­tion plan led by a team of lead­ers sup­ported by the town, ac­cord­ing to the Melbourne Busi­ness School.

When the Port Dou­glas Cham­ber of Com­merce (PDCC), Tourism Port Dou­glas and Dain­tree (TPDD) and Di­vi­sion 10 coun­cil­lor Ju­lia Leu dis­cussed this rec­om­men­da­tion, they de­cided to fo­cus on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

“Ev­ery­one had an op­por­tu­nity to talk through a num­ber of is­sues and at end of the meet­ing we recog­nised that we have an ob­vi­ous eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment de­fi­ciency in the com­mu­nity,” Cr Leu said.

“Ev­ery­one is quite shocked by the re­cent clo­sure of Bistro 3, it’s quite dis­tress­ing on the back of so many re­cent re­tail clo­sures - we’re at a crit­i­cal point in our eco­nomic fu­ture and must do some­thing to ar­rest this de­cline and re­vi­talise our area.

“We do need to work to­gether as a com­mu­nity, sup­port and get be­hind this pro­posed new ini­tia­tive but first we have agreed to seek ex­pert ad­vice on the ex­act struc­ture on the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment group.”

The Melbourne Busi­ness School re­ports sug­gests the struc­ture for a new in­de­pen­dent board fo­cus­ing on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, mar­ket­ing and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, how­ever the pro­posed eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment group will branch off TPDD.

“We’re talk­ing about an in­de­pen­dent eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment group that in­volves busi­ness and com­mu­nity sec­tors across the Dou­glas area,” Cr Leu said.

“We’ve looked closely at the re­port and con­sid­ered the rec­om­men­da­tions but at this stage sub­ject to seek­ing this ex­pert ad­vice, this is the best way to ad­dress the de­fi­ciency in econ­omy de­vel­op­ment iden­ti­fied in the MBS re­port.”

Both the MBS re­port and the pro­posed eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tive sug­gest work­ing closely with the coun­cil and rep­re­sent­ing the whole Dou­glas re­gion to at­tract and sup­port ex­ter­nal in­vestors and de­velop eco­nomic and strate­gic plans.

“I want to work very closely with both PDCC and TPDD but also other ar­eas of Dou­glas once we es­tab­lish the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment group,” Cr Leu said.

“The pro­posed group has enor­mous po­ten­tial it’s about be­ing in­clu­sive of the rest of Dou­glas and in­sti­gat­ing and en­gag­ing with busi­ness around our re­gion also suf­fer­ing to the same ex­tent.”

The re­port sug­gests a time frame of four months to get the board op­er­a­tional and start ad­dress­ing rec­om­men­da­tions.

“In my opin­ion there is an ur­gency to do some­thing as soon as pos­si­ble and I want to see this group es­tab­lished well within that four-month rec­om­men­da­tion,” Cr Leu said.

“Once we seek ex­pert ad­vice on the ex­act eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment struc­ture and when we’re able to present some­thing for fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion we will present to the com­mu­nity and seek feed­back.

“Un­der eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment we can look at bet­ter co­or­di­nated train­ing to im­prove and ad­dress cus­tomer ser­vice is­sues and in the fu­ture, Car­ni­vale and many other cur­rent and pos­si­ble fu­ture cul­tural ini­tia­tives could all be driven and or­gan­ised by the group.”

The Melbourne Busi­ness School’s Re­vi­tal­is­ing Port Dou­glas has de­tailed the de­cline in Port Dou­glas and steps to re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion. Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion that did not make the re­port can be found in the ap­pen­dix sec­tion. To ob­tain a full copy email sec­re­tary@ port­dou­glascham­ber.

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