Regional industry conversation afoot in Cairns

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Mungalli Creek Dairy farm southwest of Cairns. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Chamber to prove why youth unemployment so high in Cairns

From the Cairns Post, 6th May 2015

THE Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland is to provide examples to Small Business Minister Bruce Billson to prove why the youth unemployment rate is so high in the Far North.

CCIQ president Brett Moller and other chamber representatives met Mr Billson in Brisbane earlier this week.

Mr Moller said CCIQ would follow up several lines of inquiry with Mr Billson. “We will provide case studies on red tape, penalty rates and current lack of flexibility with Fair Work laws, which are an impediment to employment and are directly related to high youth unemployment in FNQ,” he said.

“CCIQ wants a strong narrative in the upcoming Federal Budget, highlighting the importance of addressing debt and restructuring deficit … before it impacts on economic outcomes.

“We are seeking strong direction and leadership and a bipartisan approach to Budget measures necessary for a return of consumer and business confidence.”

Mr Moller said one case was Mungalli Creek Dairy southwest of Cairns. “The family-run business has told CCIQ they were excited about the future of manufacturing in Queensland, particularly the trend towards greater demand for clean and local food sources,” he said.

“At present, however, Mungalli believes advances in the industry are threatened by a culture of over-regulation that prevents innovative and/or entrepreneurial responses to problems or challenges that arise in the workplace and in the manufacturing industry more broadly.”

Mr Moller said Maryborough Sugar, which operated three mills in the tropical north, had cited wage costs as a key challenge and were employing less staff to remain competitive. Mr Billson told 200 business representatives there would be a 1.5 per cent cut to the company tax rate for small businesses in the Budget.

He outlined government plans to support crowdsourced equity funding for small business, saying there was a need for small business to be innovative and embrace new technology to be successful.

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