2020 AGM President’s Report

 

So we approach the end of one of the most challenging years for the Chamber, since the last AGM, and yet in comparison to many in business we have come through pretty well.

 

We survived a rogue storm cell destroying our extensively planned luxurious Long Lunch event on the Broadwater Parklands in December last year.

 

We thank our sponsors of that event and ticket holders for their support and patience. The major sponsors were given a one year Corporate Sponsorship of the Chamber and table holders were given one year Gold Membership.

 

We held a Meet The Candidates Breakfast for Division 6 in the Council elections at the Southport Golf Club in March. As you all know Brooke Patterson became Dawn’s successor. Brooke Patterson has hit the ground running and in a short time has achieved a lot for Southport.

 

Then Covid-19 arrived, events stopped, and everything became uncertain for businesses.

 

During the first months of Covid-19 we delivered content for our members through our Website and regular email newsletters and alerts.

 

We removed the membership fee for our standard Business Membership so that we could remove barriers for business to join with us and get the support and collegiality of the Chamber.

 

We continued our Board of Management meetings throughout by use of Zoom which has proven to be a great way to keep Chamber business moving with less interruption to our Committee members’ work and personal lives.

 

I continued to chair the Southport Community Consultative Committee on behalf of the Chamber through 2020. Where we had previously held these community stakeholder engagement meetings quarterly, we moved to monthly through early 2020 as we focussed on highlighting with Council and the Police the urgent need to address homelessness and anti-social behaviour issues in Southport.

 

I am happy to confirm that Councillor Brooke Patterson has done a great job in having the Council and Police roll out a range of strategies to resolve these issues as best they can.

 

The Chamber was invited to Join Angie Bell’s Community Cabinet which met regularly by Zoom with various community groups to address community related Covid-19 issues.

 

The Chamber was also invited to join Angie Bell’s City Heart Taskforce which is an ongoing Zoom meeting of key Gold Coast stakeholders who have an input into working to grow the Gold Coast out of Covid-19 and beyond.

 

An example of the work done by that Taskforce was the Reimagine Gold Coast Forum 20 August 2020 at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre which generated the reimagine Gold Coast 2020 Insights Report which is now being referred to and considered at Federal State and Local levels of government.

 

The bold vision the Southport Chamber team at the Forum put forward for the key industry pillar theme of growing Southport as the CBD has been heard. I believe Council are committing to move their administration to Southport within the next two years and that there is serious consideration being given to putting the Gold Coast Highway underground to better connect the CBD with the Broadwater.

 

When we were able to start events in a limited way we held an exclusive wine and cheese function in August at the GC Business Hub for the ticket holders from the cancelled 2019 Long Lunch.

 

The Chamber joined with Central and Southern to host a combined meet the candidate event for the State election at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre.

 

We then held a Spring Business After Dark function at the Southport Yacht Club in September with guest speaker the CEO of the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation Ben Cox. This was a great opportunity for the Foundation to educate us on the good works they do in our community.

 

Our most recent event was our Special Melbourne Cup 2020 Business Breakfast at the Southport Golf Club on 3 November. It was a fun event with guests getting into the dress up spirit. It was also informative as freshly returned State Member for Southport, Rob Molhoek, gave us an update on what state government will be doing for Southport, and Councillor Brooke Patterson gave us an update on her progress in Council on behalf of Southport. Brooke gives us a monthly update for our newsletter so you can all stay up to date with Council’s actions in Southport.

 

Membership numbers are at record levels of over 200 members, (at the start of the 2020 financial year they were at a low 53). Greater member numbers give the Chamber a great opportunity to advocate and work on members behalf. We are extending the offer of free membership and we all need to encourage businesses to join us in providing a greater voice for business.

 

We are able to provide free membership because of savings we have made on previous recurring expenses. This was our first full year without paid administrative support, office rent, and telephone expense. We invested instead in a website which handles all our event booking and payment, our membership applications, payment and renewals, and the website also rolls our ongoing news articles into regular newsletters to our members.

 

A big thank you goes to our Corporate Sponsor Gold Coast Business Hub for their ongoing donation of office space for the Chamber and meeting rooms for Board meetings and events.

 

Our Board of Management are all volunteers and contribute their own time and have taken on all the administrative rolls between them including contributing their time each month attending to:

 

  • Management Committee Meetings - second Tuesday of each month in person and by Zoom; and

 

  • Monthly Networking events – either Breakfast 6:30am – 9:00am or BAD nights 5:30pm – 7:30pm at various venues in Southport; and

 

  • Contributing to the Sub-Committee or general tasks (Marketing, Events, Membership, IT etc.) either themselves or delegated to a Senior Staff person where available or assisting another board member.

 

We look forward to growing our member base in the coming year and continuing to hold informative and worthwhile events for our members and guests.

 

In particular, we will continue to work with key stakeholders to advocate for the growth and improvement of Southport as the CBD and will work with CCIQ and others to ensure small businesses are supported in the coming year.

 

Finally, a big thank you to all the Board of Management who continued to work with the Chamber during this difficult year. There were 12 of us this year and from this AGM the Board is limited to 10. Liam Campbell and Ramon Otten are not re-nominating due to other commitments and we wish them well.

 

We look forward to seein gyou all in 2021.

 

Ian Kennedy | President

Southport Chamber of Commerce

 

 

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