Forum to tackle problems
Diversity, sustainability among issues
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.”