One of my favourite parts of my job is coming across people who are having a go, getting out and achieving things rather than sitting back and waiting for them to happen. I’ve encountered a few of these lately which I’d like to share with you.
Firstly, we are all excited by the potential of construction projects that have either started, or are on the cusp in Cairns. There’s going to be a massive demand for tradies, but at all times we want them to be working safely and maximising their opportunities. That’s where the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) comes in.
Robert Browning is NECA Queensland’s new Northern Manager and in August I was happy to officially open the first NECA office in Cairns. The office will provide support and services to local contractors in the areas of training, safety and compliance, business support, innovation and work opportunities. Many electrical contractors are sole traders or small business operators, so NECA will be a fantastic assistance to them as well as being a place for those in the industry to meet up and discuss local issues and opportunities. Congratulations Robert and the team!
I also had the privilege recently of helping to launch a new fashion label called Mainie, which is the work of Charmaine Saunders and Denis Keeffe. The label marries the ancient art of Indigenous women from the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory with silk from one of China’s fabled Silk Road cities, Nanjing. The maiden collection of 12 unique designs is manufactured in China and demonstrates how small Australian businesses are taking advantage of better relationships between our two countries. It is absolutely wonderful to see a start-up fashion business from Cairns identifying an opportunity in the market and going for it. On behalf of Charmaine Saunders and Denis Keeffe I was pleased to present Foreign Minister Julie Bishop with one of the Mainie scarves in recognition of the growing relationship between China and Australia.
Then, what a cracking day it was in Port Douglas when I attended the official opening of the first phase of the expansion at The Reef Marina. The expansion, comprising thirty new 30m and 22m length berths, is the largest investment in the marina precinct since the 1980s. Ably constructed by Queensland family-owned company The Jetty Specialist, the berths provide new space for tour boats and visiting vessels. Andrew Hooper-Nguyen, the Managing Director and co-owner of The Reef Marina, and his team are determined to reinvigorate this once-buzzing precinct – given what they’ve invested so far, and their vision for the future, I’ve got no doubt they’ll succeed. It’s not only the exterior changes, such as tidying up the external areas and freshening the complex with gleaming white paint, it’s about encouraging new ventures such as Hemmingway's Brewery – construction started in August and will feature a working microbrewery, three bars, function centre, children’s' play area, and of course, stunning views across the marina. I can’t wait to visit!
Last but not least, I have to congratulate Cape York Camping Punsand Bay for winning the Regional Award at the 2015 Telstra Queensland Business Awards. This is a real testament to the extraordinary ability and entrepreneurship of the team at Cape York Camping Punsand Bay, who were also finalists in the Start-Up category. They’ve created an iconic Far North Queensland business in a truly unique location – just 5km west of the northern-most tip of Cape York. I actually stayed there several years ago, and can attest to the challenges that businesses such as this face being in an extremely remote location. Cape York Camping was up against a number of other businesses of very high calibre, so for the team to win the Regional Award is an outstanding effort.