Chamber of Commerce committee changover to create new ideas
IT IS time for fresh ideas, and with the changeover of committee members for the Warwick Chamber of Commerce, the new year is sure to be a great one for the local business community.
Newly elected chamber of commerce president Bruce Partridge, who is also the general manager at the Daily News, will be moving up from treasurer to take on the top job.
Chamber of Commerce presidents have a maximum of four years in the office, after which they must hand over the reins to another committee member.
"It is a great opportunity for new approaches," Mr Partridge said.
"Most of the presidents have different approaches for what they want to achieve.
"This year the chamber developed its own economic committee, which has direct links to the council's economic development unit.
"We developed a plan of projects the chamber is capable of completing, such as the retail Christmas campaign.
"We want to make Warwick a prominent destination for retail shopping in the broader region from places like Toowoomba and Goondiwindi."
Former chamber of commerce president David Littleproud said he could look back with pride on what the chamber had achieved over the past four years.
"Council now has a greater awareness of the financial impact that expenditure has on ratepayers," he said.
"In terms of the planning department, the chamber has brought them to the realisation that we are in competition with capital dollars in other shires.
"We are still on track to execute a strategic economic plan and council needs to be held accountable for that going forward."
Mr Littleproud said the major achievement he was proudest of was the commitment from the Coalition Government to fund the study of alternative routes to Cunningham's Gap.
"Going forward with that, the freight components from Brisbane to Sydney will double," he said.
"The chamber also plays an important part in the awareness of the Eight Mile.
"Key decision-makers are out making sure the Southern Downs is on the radar.
"I believe we have made a significant difference to the community through slowly changing the ethos and operation of council and lobbying.
"There are still some ways to go, but we have been definitely making progress."
Meanwhile, Mr Partridge said he had a few ideas for the chamber next year.
"One of the items on the agenda is to pursue the Warwick Railway Precinct as a potential tourism hub," he said.
"Also the local signage around Warwick is out of date and not appropriate.
"Approaching the city, you don't have the clear directions that tourists are looking for, like signage for caravan parks.
"We have really good welcome signs on the northern side of Warwick, but that doesn't exist on the other entrances to the city."
Mr Partridge said another focus for the Warwick Chamber of Commerce in the new year would be opening up more dialogue with the local retail sector.
"We will further support the work of the council's economic development unit by providing extra feedback and support," he said.
"We hope to give them a guide as to what the community is thinking.
"If our members can have some direct input to what the council does, it will be better for everyone.
"The Warwick business environment is quite stable and the community is a good, well-organised group of people."
Mr Partridge said he was looking forward to hearing ideas about the work the chamber could do.
"I am quite open to listening to suggestions," Mr Partridge said.
"I want to hear from the community, just give me a call and let me know how you think the chamber could be improved."
You can reach Mr Partridge on 0429 032 767 or email bruce.partridge@warwick dailynews.com.au.
Warwick Chamber of Commerce office bearers 2014 are:
President - Bruce Partridge
Vice President - Jason Gard
Treasurer - Lewis Von Stieglitz
Secretary - Jennie Porter