Cairns Chamber of Commerce chief executive promotes city as a 'land of opportunity'
INCOMING Cairns Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Deb Hancock wants to position Cairns as a "land of opportunity" over the next 18 months.
Two of her priorities will be helping businesses tap into the estimated $750 million the State Government spends on goods and services in the region each year and slashing red tape.
"I’m looking forward to working with you to position Cairns, not as a place plagued by economic challenges, but rather as a place of great opportunity," she told more than 230 members and guests at the chamber’s monthly lunch yesterday.
It was her first public appearance since her appointment. Ms Hancock starts work on Monday next week.
She said businesses were missing out on government procurement contracts for goods, services and capital works.
"The main reason has been the lack of awareness of opportunities or no information available in the region," Ms Hancock said.
She said there were also federal, local and private projects that companies were not getting a slice of.
Ms Hancock said that at a Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland forum in Cairns participants recognised that "red tape and over regulation is the single most significant factor impacting business growth".
She said the LNP Government had committed to reduce red tape by 20 per cent.
"This means that we have an opportunity right now to define how this 20 per cent reduction is calculated and what reductions would be meaningful for businesses in our region," Ms Hancock said.
She said business in Cairns was on the rise.
"I believe we’re at 7 o’clock on the investment/economy clock and that we’re coming out of the bottom of market and starting to rise with an upward trend," Ms Hancock said.
"I recognise that there may be some people that might be cynical about a positive future for Cairns, but from my experience, while the cynics are sitting around being cynical, the rest of us are getting on with it and actually making a difference," she said.
Ms Hancock has listed 12 main economic opportunities from the solar eclipse next month to the G20 Finance Ministers Summit in November, 2014.
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Looking to the future: Cairns Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Deb Hancock has outlined her focus for the next 18 months. Picture: BRENDAN FRANCIS