Economic development key issue at next Think Tank


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Saturday's Think Tank will be the fist at the new location, the Mossman Shire Hall. Image: Newsport.

The role of the Douglas Chamber of Commerce and Council’s Economic Development Taskforce Strategy will be among the key items to be discussed at the fourth Think Tank being held at the Mossman Shire Hall on Saturday.

This community platform, where visions have been shared, ideas developed and connections built, has proven to be extremely popular across the shire.

Saturday’s Think Tank starts at 1:00pm and concludes at 3:00pm and those planning to attend need to be aware of the new venue. Newsport will be live streaming the event on Facebook.

Dr Alex Bernhardi, who has spearheaded the Think Tank, said the focus this time will be to provide the attendees more time to present their ideas and visions as well as provide feedback on the Council Plan.

“The Douglas Chamber of Commerce will discuss their role; and Council CEO Mark Stoermer will reveal Council's plan for an Economic Development Taskforce.

“We will also have lots of updates on previous topics as well as a short contribution from the Mossman Mill’s Human Relations officer,” she said.

In reviewing the past forums, Dr Bernhardi said its main purpose has been to bring people together and enabling them to connect with each other.

“We have used this to share our problems, ideas, and visions; and trying to find solutions together.

“The outcome of these connections might not always be visible straight away. But I am confident lots more is happening behind the scene. Bigger things take time,” she said.

Dr Bernhardi said another goal is to encourage community members to get engaged (again) and to demonstrate that we care and take notice of what is happening in this Shire, and what is not.

“It’s a case of taking back some ownership. We are all stakeholders in this community and the forums have opened up discussions and encouraged thinking outside the box.

“We have also demonstrated ‘transparency’ – the Think Tank meetings are 100 per cent transparent and open to everybody.”

Dr Bernhardi said the Think Tank is a catalyst for the aforementioned points.

“Once the right people have met and ideas have been spread, the Think Tank will have fulfilled its role and will hopefully be carried on in many other ways.”

Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu says Council’s 2017-21 Economic Development Strategy has seen many key, diverse players contribute to the development of the strategy and the identified opportunities.

“With a focus on improving employment skills through study and training, identifying skills shortages, creating an entrepreneurial incubator, increasing the resilience of the sugar industry through innovation and continuing on the path to become a leader in sustainable development within Australia, the strategy will provide the opportunity for a strong collaborative approach to economic prosperity in the Shire.

“This strategy is a bold pro-active vision for the future of the Shire, and it is only by working together that we can achieve a successful mix of economy, environment, industry, culture and lifestyle,” she says.

The 2017-2021 Economic Development Strategy is already in place and a taskforce will be set up to review and update that strategy.

Expressions of Interest to join the taskforce will be released next week.

And as the Douglas Chamber of Commerce strives to strengthen its position in the marketplace, they will use this forum to explain its goals, open the floor for discussion and advise how to take advantage of becoming an active member. 

There will be two sessions.

In Session One, there will be an update on farmer Clint's earthworms.

There will be a progress report on the environmental youth project, an initiative spearheaded by local high school student Caitlin. There will also be an update on the Botanical Garden and what actions are being planned.

A couple of local business owners have been invited to share their ideas and insights about environmental business initiatives, and other matters relevant to the shire.

The second session will feature the role of the Douglas Chamber of Commerce; and Douglas Shire Council CEO Mark Stoermer will discuss the newly-developed Economic Development Taskforce Strategy, which is aimed at tackling the shire's economic challenges.


When: Saturday 2 November 2019
Where: Mossman Shire Hall, Mill Street, Mossman
Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm


1.00pm: Introduction, housekeeping, communication
1.10pm: Session 1 & Workshop

Update on healthy soil (Farmer Clint)

  • Update on the environmental youth project
  • Update on Mossman Botanical Garden
  • Local businesses sharing their environmental initiatives

2.00pm: Session 2 & Workshop

  • Chamber of Commerce - What does it offer?
  • Council's new Economic Development Taskforce project (Mark Stoermer)

2.50pm: Conclusion and Finish at 3.00pm

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