Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland chief executive officer Stephen Tait, right, out and about helping local businesses.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland chief executive officer Stephen Tait, right, out and about helping local businesses.

Leading the business fight against coronavirus in Cooroy

COOROY might not think so, but the Noosa hinterland hub may seem a little out of the way to base one of the state’s key business leaders who is helping commerce and industry dig in for a survival fight against coronavirus.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland CEO Stephen Tait of course travels the state looking after the business interests of his members, but has been a strategic gain for the Cooroy Chamber of Commerce.

And Mr Tait is adamant the need has never been greater for battling traders to join up with this peak body which offers panels of expert advice on things like the latest federal business rescue package … so much so that he’s letting any and all join the CCIQ for free.

That’s an annual saving of $700, and plenty are seizing onto any advantage they can, to help them stay afloat as customer bases collapse.

“What we saw in the last three weeks was this spike of people looking for support during these challenging times,” Mr Tait said.

“This is a time that we really have to step up and support business. We couldn’t charge businesses when they’re going through such bad times.”

The CCIQ on average takes calls seeing advice from businesses on average about 400 and 500 a month, usually on issues relating to the complexities of human resources and industrial relations.

Mr Tait said they have received more than 1000 calls in a few weeks.

“Mostly people don’t know where to go for advice and they’re stressed.

“It’s just soul-destroying my team are taking some of the most distressing calls they’ve ever taken. Most of the phone calls are about how do I keep my staff. I think that is a real reflection of the community spirit in small business.

“People are doing everything they can to keep their staff and I think that’s telling,” he said.

The CCIQ is preparing to help members deal with the significant lift in unemployment, which will not be quite as steep due to the Federal Government’s economic stimulus.

Mr Tait said last week the CCIQ ran a webinar on where to go for help and which packages are best and the result was quite staggering,

“We had 1000 businesses dial into that.”

Cooroy Chamber president Chris Bell is delighted to have someone of the calibre of Mr Tait in their midst helping guide them through the pandemic slump.

He is also pleased that in these toughest of times that all the politics has gone out the door with the coronavirus fightback effort underway.

“There’s been no point scoring, that in itself has been quite refreshing,” Mr Bell said.

He said the Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the pandemic and put measures in place three weeks before other countries like the United State faced the reality of this health crisis.

Mr Bell is delighted by the support such as the JobKeeper payments of $1500 a fortnight.

“How we’re going to pay for it, I don’t know. When we get through this, and we’re only going to get through when we find a vaccine, I personally think this is a good initiative that’s been shown.

“You’re seeing people who have never had to claim welfare in their life and this JobKeeper doesn’t seem to have the same social implications as what lining up for the dole does.

“I think it’s a great package.”

Mr Bell has also praised the special roundtable conferences chaired by the Noosa Council in co-operation with Noosa MP Sandy Bolton as being an effective way to help business in troubling times.


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