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Tuesday, 27 May 2003
Page: 15122


Ms GAMBARO (9:16 PM) —I have great pleasure in talking about a new program being undertaken by the Brisbane North Chamber of Commerce with financial support of $71,472 from the Department of Transport and Regional Services under the Regional Assistance Program. The Brisbane North Chamber of Commerce incorporates 15 Brisbane northside suburbs, including seven in my electorate of Petrie—Everton Park, Stafford, Stafford Heights, Chermside, Chermside West, Kedron and Aspley.

The Brisbane North Industry Mapping and Targeted Business Development project will assist with generating sales and employment opportunities in both domestic and overseas markets by conducting industry mapping of the Brisbane North region and targeted business support. The project will be conducted by the Brisbane North Chamber of Commerce and is part of a broad strategy for Brisbane's middle north, in conjunction with the Department of State Development and the Brisbane City Council, and with broad representation from local business and community members.

The Greater Brisbane Area Consultative Committee has endorsed this project as a significant employment-generating opportunity for the local community. It involves a strategic approach to expanding the potential for business outcomes in key industries, such as manufacturing, retail, storage, health and community services. The maps produced from this project will allow a targeted approach to business development. They will provide much valuable supply chain analysis, business clusters and even information on community business precincts.

One of the principal aims of this project is to bring local businesses together for networking, education and information sharing. Local skills and experience are invaluable in helping to achieve sustainable employment growth that can benefit the whole community. Through this particular project, local firms in key industries, including manufacturing, health, retail, transport and storage, will have access to targeted information that can help them to expand their strategic approach towards potential business outcomes. It will offer opportunities for local businesses to grow and expand into emerging markets both nationally and overseas.

Growth opportunities also offer employment opportunities, and the benefits are returned to the community. In the electorate of Petrie there are over 3,000 small businesses that will benefit. Because of the dynamics of the greater Brisbane area, the northside of Brisbane is home to an increasing number of small businesses, and they like to do business in this area because of the variety and quality of other services that are available. In the past seven years, Brisbane's northside has shown considerable residential and business growth. On top of this, the Petrie electorate now boasts an unemployment rate of less than seven per cent. I see the Minister for Employment Services is in the House. He should be very happy with the achievements of the Petrie electorate in terms of employment opportunities.

I am also encouraged by the news of new businesses that are continually opening up in my electorate. More and more people on Brisbane's northside are looking to do business at a local level, and they take pride in shopping in the local business area. I want to commend the Brisbane North Chamber of Commerce. They are a leader in assisting business development, and I commend them on their efforts to date. The voluntary executive and also the subcommittee of this organisation are dedicated to a range of activities and services that promote and allow business growth.

The Brisbane North Industry Mapping and Targeted Business Development project will join a stable of programs that have already boosted business in this region. Key programs that have done so have been: the BOOST program, which is aimed at raising business owners' skills in managing their enterprises; the Brisbane middle north local economic strategy, which is aimed at improving the economic viability and the livability of Brisbane's middle north; and the school liaison program, which is aimed at developing a close and constant contact between the local business and school communities.

Through the investment that the federal government has made and the intellectual capacity within the Brisbane North area and the business community, we will ensure there is existing and new business growth and growth in sustainable jobs. This project demonstrates how partnerships between the government and the community can enhance local opportunities in our region. It is a win-win situation. I want to congratulate the Brisbane North Chamber of Commerce, and I hope that they will continue with the passion and the energy they have demonstrated over the number of years that I have grown to know of their work.