Dorrigo Chamber of Commerce Inc.

We held our AGM Monday night 15 August and all those nominated for the Management Committee were accepted as proposed with nominations for Treasurer being called from the floor.

Welcome & Thank you
Patsy Green remains as President, Richard Harrison is Vice-President, with Tianaha Willson-Baker as Secretary and Peter Lynch accepting the role of Treasurer. Our ordinary Management Committee members are Peter Gibson, Jane Reidy, Katiuska Cruz, John O’Leary, Steve Jenkins and Carolyn Meehan. We would like to thank the out-going committee members for their efforts on behalf of the Chamber over the past 10 months and thank all those that have put their hand up for the next year.

Finance Report
Attached here is the Treasurer’s Report for the last financial year until 30 June 2016.

President’s Report
Since being placed into the role of President in October 2015 I have been on a huge learning curve. I had no idea what to expect or what was expected from me.
I learnt very fast that having a full time job was going to make things very difficult at times.
Fortunately, I work for a terrific company where the Executive Management team are extremely supportive, as have been my family over the past 10 months.
I have been invited to attend many events and function as the Dorrigo Chamber representative and have needed to step outside my comfort zone to do so.
Believe it or not, I am a quiet, shy person that finds it very confronting to be in a situation with a lot of people especially if I don’t know them and quite often discussing areas I am not versed in.
So I thank the members of the Chamber for providing me with this valuable experience.

Some of the events I have attended are:
2015 Mid north Coast Food Forum at Bonville Golf Club
2016 Australia Day Awards at the Dorrigo Showground
Opening of the George and Annie Cork Memorial Medical Centre
Opening of the new Dorrigo Sewerage Treatment Facility, this was also my very first experience in being interviewed by TV and newspaper journalists
Welcomed the Tour De Cure riders into town along with other Chamber representatives and community members.
Launch of the Destination Coffs Coast TV Commercial – #Createyourparadise

It has been a busy year for the Chamber and I thank the committee and sub committees for their never ending hard work.
There have been 3 very successful Made in Dorrigo Street Markets held.
Spruce up Dorrigo did some amazing fund raising and the Coach Terminal upgrade is in full swing.
The new Dorrigo Brochure is well underway.

We held 2 general meetings this year with Kellon and Peter from NSW Business Chamber  and Luke Hartsuyker as guest speakers, a Meet the Candidates forum for the Federal election and a Community Meeting as part of the Run of River Hydro Research project.

We also launched the new and improved Chamber website:
This is a fluid project as there will be constant updates and changes where required and we welcome feedback and suggestions from members and visitors to the site. Recent changes have been made to the Accommodation listings page after a meeting with some of the accommodation business owners.
The website is complimented by our facebook pages:  Dorrigo Tourism Business & Community; Made in Dorrigo and Spruce Up Dorrigo.
We have held a quarterly photo competition with the winner featured on the home page of the website for 3 months and a small write up about them and link to their own website.

Our member base has grown with new businesses and ownership changes and we welcome all our new members to the chamber and encourage you to have an active role in any of our projects that you would like to.  We have also lost a few members due to a business’s being sold or simply moving on and we wish them all the very best.  We currently have 61 financial members, 20 unpaid so reminders will go out this week and 1 new application.

Dorrigo became an RV friendly town, listed with Camping and Caravanning Australia. This is a project the Chamber has been working on with Bellingen Shire Council for over 2 years and the increase in visitors in their RV’s and caravans has been visible in the past few months.
I am sure as the weather warms up, we will see a lot more.

At the Food Forum I attended in November last year, one of the guest speakers was Kellon Beard from the NSW Business Chamber. After listening to him speak about accessing the Chinese market and Chamber members having access to a shop front to advertise their products, I started doing some research about Chambers and what they are. I found that apart from local Chambers, there are Regional, State and an Australian Chamber as well as Chambers across the globe. I then started looking at websites belonging to other Chambers and found that most were a part of the Local Chamber Alliance.  So I decided to find out what this was. After few meetings with Kellon and Peter Bastian from the Mid North Coast office of NSW Business Chamber and several phone calls, a general meeting was held where Kellon Beard and Peter Bastian were guest speakers. After this meeting information was sent out to all Dorrigo Chamber Members and at the next General meeting it was agreed that Dorrigo Chamber of Commerce would join the Local Chamber Alliance effective 1st July 2016. This is an opt in program, so if you have not already done so, but would like to take advantage of this extra benefit of being a Chamber member, you can download the opt-in form here.

I have had several meetings with Steve Vallance, Business Development Manager
Office Regional Development, NSW Department of Industry and Regional Development.
During these meetings we have discussed ideas for attracting industry to Dorrigo as well as other ideas for Community ownership or management of businesses to help create a sustainable economy for the Plateau.
Steve has also put me in touch with Jen Haberecht the Rural Resilience officer with Dept. of Primary Industry. We had an initial meeting last Friday around running a program on the plateau to help engage our farming community into the Business sector as they are a major contributor to our economy.

At the end of April this year the Chamber received an invitation from Touring Australia Magazine to be a part of their new RV Friendly Towns section in the next edition due out at the end of July. We were offered a significant reduction in cost and up to a 2 page feature. This offer was discussed at our General meeting in May and most in attendance were unsure of the value of advertising in the magazine. The offer was sent out to all members and as a result 6 businesses came on board and the 2 page feature can be seen in the Current edition of Touring Australia Magazine on pages 26 and 27. I thanks the businesses that chose to be a part of this exciting opportunity to promote Dorrigo. We have now been extended the same offer for the next edition and the chamber is currently seeking businesses and organisations that would like to be a part of the next edition.

The Chamber has worked closely with Bellingen Shire Council and the other Chambers within the shire on several issues and projects including a meeting with John Starr regarding roads and safety issues in and around Dorrigo including the monument as an ongoing concern.

Thank you to the 2015-16 Committee, the sub committees and the members. I am sure 2016-17 will be just as busy.

Patsy Green
Dorrigo Chamber of Commerce Inc.

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