Unity call from forum
LEIGH Ratcliffe, the project consultant to the Fullshare Group’s redevelopment of the Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas, has called for the business community to come together to advance their interests and goals.
It was a common theme through much of the DSC’s inaugural Business Forum last week.
“We all know the past seven years have been hell up here,” Mr Ratcliffe said.
“In 2008 the world collapsed up here – it was the worst corner of Australia.”
He described the looming opportunities as 200 million Chinese middle class tourists began to explore the world.
He said the destination of our tourism offering was a “rich tapestry” but “it is all about working together”.
He recalled how during the pilots strike in the early ’80s the tourism bodies in Cairns and Port Douglas sent team overseas, “pitching together” this region as a tourism destination.
“They were a very cohesive team. That’s what’s got to come back – the team.
“Everybody should pull to- gether, no matter which area of the economy or society you are from.”
Wendy Morris recalled the same era: “When we had down times, something that really kept this place going was everyone working together.”
She described how the business community worked “really hard for about a year” at the end of the pilots’ strike “to get this place moving again”.
It involved enormous effort, such as placing samples of Mocka’s Pies in every travel agents offices in the nation, a total of around 1400 travel agents.
Phoebe Kitto related her experience of starting a business at the height of the GFC and remarked that it “takes a region to raise a business” – meaning that the support she got from other businesses, es- pecially the Chamber of Commerce, was enormously valuable.
Ms Kitto recommended businesses be involved with the chamber, for the mutual support it offers through membership.
“If we we all work together on chasing our goals are we are much more likely to achieve success than to go out as individuals and try to chip away.
“If we work together as a chamber we can reach some really good goals. With one common voice we can get some traction.”
The chamber has a special membership offer at the moment of just $50 a year.
Perhaps it was fitting that the speaker given the final word, Mark Matthews, of Advance Cairns, spoke the most pointedly about the need for collaboration.
Collaboration, as an example, had helped achieve at least some success in the face of the moves to shut down any expansion of the port of Cairns.
The struggle over the port is not over, he said, but it is collaboration and the strength of that collaboration “that will bring success”.
“My challenge to you as a community is to work together. Shout it from the rooftops.”
We all know the past seven years have been hell up here. In 2008 the world collapsed up here – it was the worst corner of Australia Leigh Ratcliffe, Sheraton project consultant
Haydn Slattery, Wendy Morris, Phoebe Kitto, Mark Hober and Leigh Ratcliffe