Fo­rum to tackle prob­lems

Di­ver­sity, sus­tain­abil­ity among is­sues

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS - Shane Ni­chols

THE in­au­gu­ral Dou­glas Busi­ness Fo­rum, fea­tur­ing an il­lus­tri­ous line up of guest speak­ers and pan­el­lists, will be held in Port Dou­glas to­day.

At the QT Re­sort from noon to 5:30pm, it is free, but book­ings are es­sen­tial.

An ini­tia­tive of the Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil, the fo­rum is an in­di­ca­tion of a de­clared in­ten­tion of the coun­cil to work more closely with busi­ness.

“As Mayor, I ini­ti­ated the busi­ness fo­rum to fos­ter eco­nomic and busi­ness devel­op­ment and build closer re­la­tion­ships, within the busi­ness sec­tor and with Coun­cil,” Ju­lia Leu told the

“Com­ing on the back of a highly suc­cess­ful tourism sea­son and events, con­firmed re­de­vel­op­ment plans on iconic prop­er­ties, sig­nif­i­cant re­cent Coun­cil plan­ning ap­provals, the time is right to fo­cus on busi­ness devel­op­ment in the Shire.

“I am look­ing for­ward to lis­ten­ing to all ideas from del­e­gates and hope the fo­rum is in­spir­ing, that it fos­ters col­lab­o­ra­tion, a will­ing­ness to work to­gether as well as a sense of op­ti­mism about do­ing busi­ness in Dou­glas.”

To open up the sub­ject ahead of the fo­rum to­day we asked sev­eral busi­ness peo­ple what they thought were ma­jor is­sues wor­thy of dis­cus­sion. Tara Ben­nett, TPDD “The Dou­glas busi­ness com­mu­nity needs to con­sider at­tract­ing com­ple­men­tary in­dus­tries to safe guard the com­mu­nity against fu­ture fluc­tu­a­tions in tourism. The sea­sonal na­ture of tourism in the trop­ics also calls for eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion to min­imise the an­nual im­pact on the busi­ness com­mu­nity. Small and medium busi­nesses are bur­dened with a great deal of red tape and reg­u­la­tion. This is an is­sue Aus­tralia wide and af­fects the Dou­glas re­gion more than other ar­eas due to the makeup of our busi­ness com­mu­nity which is dom­i­nated by small to medium com­pa­nies strug­gling in the cur­rent reg­u­la­tory cli­mate.

“Ac­cess to a skilled labour force is a chal­lenge for busi­ness op­er­a­tors due to the tran­sient na­ture of some of the re­gions work­force. This cre­ates de­mand for in­dus­try skills build­ing which can be costly and hard to ac­cess.” Phil Hol­loway, Cen­tury 21: “How do we con­tinue to en­cour­age tourism from down south and over­seas, with the aim of keep­ing the town busy for 12 months of the year; we must en­cour­age Coun­cil to be proac­tive to­wards devel­op­ment with an at­ti­tude of can it do to help devel­op­ment and how can it ad­vise you to be suc­cess­ful and over­come hur­dles; in­ves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing a cam­pus of James Cook Univer­sity or other univer­sity in our Shire to at­tempt to di­ver­sify and re­duce re­liance on tourism and sugar; en­cour­age any new agri­cul­tural; en­sure ad­e­quate wa­ter sup­plies; to cater for grey no­mad trav­ellers more by en­sur­ing we have proper ‘dump­ing sta­tions’ for car­a­vans and a cheap overnight area for park­ing; and a ded­i­cated area for back­packer type ve­hi­cles.”

Gerry Ire­land, Dou­glas Incerry

“Devel­op­ment and Im­ple­men­ta­tion of a 3 > 10 Year DS Des­ti­na­tion Man­age­ment Plan — no DS Or­gan­i­sa­tion has a medium to long term plan for the Shire; es­tab­lish a joint man­age­ment group to se­ri­ously tackle the shoul­der sea­son and busi­ness sus­tain­abil­ity is­sue; how to build sus­tain­able busi­nesses with a 12 month Ex­penses and 6/8 months Sell­ing for­mula; Cap­ture and com­mu­ni­cate the key in­for­ma­tion to the ATR & R Stake­hold­ers i.e. Ac­com­mo­da­tion al­ready has a view of for­ward book­ings for March/April ’16 — share this with Tours Res­tau­rants & Re­tail right now, fol­lowed by reg­u­lar up­dates to en­sure ef­fec­tive ros­ter plan­ning etc.”

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