Chamber funding approved by majority of Councillors


Karlie Brady


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Douglas Chamber of Commerce President Liz Ross. Image: Newsport.

Douglas Shire Council granted the Douglas Chamber of Commerce (DCC) $5,000 to help towards ongoing operations, at Tuesday’s open Council meeting.

Speaking in advance of the Council meeting, Chamber president Liz Ross said she was thankful Council considered the grant.

“For the Chamber to deliver in terms of the basic function of networking, and with regard to organising events, breakfasts and the huge expectations of business in terms of the Chamber delivering on these events, businesses fail to realise that it is being conducted by volunteers,” she said.

“The injection of funds from Council at this time for the Douglas Chamber is immense and we are thankful.”

While the majority of Council voted in favour of the funding at Tuesday’s meeting it did come with an objection by Councillor David Carey.

“Speaking against it, I’m happy to hear arguments from other councillors on why we should be supporting a representative body of businesses.

“It’s not in my experience in 40 odd years in this industry where council has propped up the Chamber of Commerce,” said Cr Carey.

Cr Carey said it’s not comparable to Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) by any means because the achievements of that group and the scope of that group are far beyond what the chamber might be involved in. The TPDD receives more than $480,000 from Council’s budget to promote tourism in the region.

“They are a representation of businesses within the Douglas community and they have a membership and I can’t think of a reason why Council should be propping them up,” he said.

Council CEO Mark Stoermer said the Chamber needed urgent funding to help with some of the promotional activities.

“We have the business expo coming up. Yes, Council has made a significant contribution to that, but they have some other activities and it’s a relatively small amount to help them get through the next several months while I work with them for a long-term vision and strategy.”

Mayor Julia Leu said in her view council should be actively working with its key business groups.

“If we can assist them into becoming a more active representative group for our business community them I think the expenditure of $5,000 is worthwhile,” she said.

Council, meanwhile, has also provided $8,000 in cash and over $6,000 of in-kind support towards the Douglas Business Expo, which is being held at the Community Centre on 6 March.  

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