Australia Pacific LNG, GCCI Join Forces to Support Small Businesses in Gladstone
The Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc (GCCI), through a generous partnership with Australia Pacific LNG, will commence a range of projects designed to address the needs of small and medium businesses in the Gladstone region.
The partnership has been created to address the difficulties faced over the past few years by small and medium businesses in attracting and retaining quality staff, with a number of specific projects to be led by the GCCI to address employment shortfalls.
Australia Pacific LNG Community Relations Manager, Robert Gibb, said that the concerns and strategic drivers to overcome this issue made this partnership an obvious choice.
“It s very important to Australia Pacific LNG to be supporting programs that help smaller businesses who may be feeling the flow-on effects of the LNG industry in Gladstone. We are focussed on ensuring the strategies underway on the Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry make a real difference and support the small businesses that underpin any thriving community, especially Gladstone,” Mr Gibb said.
Mr Rick Hansen, President of the GCCI, explained that there were two key strategies to address the specific needs of local businesses. Firstly, a program to address ongoing retention problems on accessing locals that, for their own reasons, have chosen not to work and providing them with options that encourage them to seek new employment.
“This specific program could include modifying roles, times and locations of staff, implementing change management strategies and effective employee management. Options for specialisation, downsizing and partnering for small businesses will also provide some solutions to ongoing problems,” Mr Hansen said.
The second project is ‘Operation: Industry Sunda’, developed from the opportunity for Curtis Island workers to come into the community and take advantage of what the Gladstone Region has to offer.
“The Chamber will be continuing to encourage businesses and community organisations to explore opportunities for Sunday experiences. Support will also be provided to facilitate the connection between island workers and providers in the hospitality, retail, tourism, health and sports/recreation industries,” said Mr Hansen.
With the financial support of Australia Pacific LNG, the GCCI is now able to commence all of these projects, as well as embark on detailed research into the current situation of small and medium businesses in the Gladstone Region.
“We know some businesses are benefiting from the industrial activity in the region. However, we also know that some businesses are doing it tough. We have heard of the issues around lack of staffing, high costs of wages and rentals, difficulties knowing how to undertake industry procurement processes, people shopping outside the region, and a range of other issues that aren’t going away anytime soon” said Mr Hansen.
The research would provide valuable information regarding the reasons why some businesses are thriving and others struggling. A full report will be developed and used by the GCCI to provide services and to develop a range of ‘Best Practice Case Studies’.
“The Chamber would like to hear from businesses who feel they can contribute or want more information regarding any of the Chamber’s new projects. We need to do this together to get the best results,” said Mr Hansen.