Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Is It Time for a Super Chamber? to Join or Not to Join

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Is It Time for a Super Chamber? to Join or Not to Join

Article excerpt

Byline: Owen Jacques

IS it time for the Sunshine Coast to combine its powers and develop a Super Chamber of Commerce?

The question was touched on by the outgoing president of the Kawana Chamber John Greenhalgh but has ignited debate across the region, from Caloundra to Cooroy and Yandina.

In his AGM report, Mr Greenhalgh said it was a "reflection of the chambers losing their way that we currently have about 15 chambers on the Coast".

His successor Jo Hall told the Kawana Weekly that a merger, at least between Caloundra and Kawana chambers, could give smaller businesses a louder voice.

Caloundra Chamber president Bob Thompson said he agreed with Mr Greenhalgh that there were too many chambers across the region, citing our Gold Coast peers as an example of a city with one unified chamber.

"The Gold Coast has one major chamber of commerce," he said.

"But it would be up for our membership to decide.

"We have been having discussions about the merger and it will go back to the executive."

He said the challenge with having so many chambers here was that it was "difficult to reach various levels of government Co especially local".

With the Sunshine Coast business community so fragmented across the region, would the smaller Chambers consider signing into a merger and creating a super chamber for the region?

The head of Yandina Chamber of Commerce and former Maroochy Deputy Mayor Trevor Thompson said no.

"The hinterland areas of the Sunshine Coast have different wants and needs so it's important that the hinterland retains its voice," he said.

"I certainly would not want to see one big group.

"They just become lobby groups when chambers are meant to foster growth within businesses."

When the question was put to Cooroy Chamber's spokesperson Danielle Taylor, she said Cooroy already worked closely with other chambers, including Eumundi.

"One of the main things is that individual communities have some issues the same and other issues that are unique to the area," she said. …

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