Over the last month, we’ve been pushing hard on a number of advocacy fronts – and especially when it comes to regional infrastructure. At the moment, the government has not, and is not, spending what it said it would on regional infrastructure.

Naturally, we are engaging with government and other stakeholders to ensure they do – and that they also start to fast-track this much needed investment. The drought remains unbroken and regional communities like ours are hurting, which is why they urgently need the government to deliver what they said they would.

Workers Compensation Review forum

We recently held a Workers Compensation Review forum between Janet Dore, (Independent Reviewer) and about 30 local businesses. Those in attendance voiced their concerns about a lack of appropriate checking of claims, lengthy delays and poor advice and support for both employers and employees. The Chamber’s recommendations to the review were:

  • establish a ‘help line’ for employers to understand and navigate submitting a claim
  • provide an independent review mechanism for employers for unclear incidents
  • introduce a continuing professional education program for all auditors, to better support employees and employers
  • explain the premium notice’s formula, and whether there have been changes in recent years
  • amend the insurer standards so it includes customer service standards, benchmarks, and the reintroduction of account management
  • provide transparent, realistic and measurable indicators for successful return to work outcomes.

Launch of 2019 Workforce Skills Survey

Globally, the United Nations estimates the youth unemployment rate is almost three times higher than the rest of the population and unfortunately, this statistic is all too relevant for the New England North West.

To help get to the bottom of the youth unemployment issue, NSW Business Chamber has released the 2019 Workforce Skills Survey. We are encouraging all members to tell us about their skill challenges, experiences engaging with the training system and importantly, the challenges and benefits of developing young people in the workplace.

Results from this survey will help us develop recommendations for the future delivery of training in NSW and the provision of information to students, parents and employers on the pathways to a rewarding career. To complete the survey click here. The survey will run until 29 July.

Regional Advisory Council and Local Chamber

Last week we saw eight Councillors elected to join the Regional Advisory Council. A special thank you to retiring Councillor, Wendy Marsh from Gunnedah who was a strong advocate for the region and provided a deep understanding of the natural strengths which Gunnedah are leveraging to further develop their community. Our Councillors for 2019-2021 include:

  • Aileen MacDonald, Guyra & District Chamber of Commerce (Vice President)
  • Barry O-Connor, Tenterfield Lodge and Caravan Park
  • Daniel Meyers, Westpac (President)
  • David Traynor, Regional Finance Solutions
  • Laurie Carrigan, Workforce XS
  • Robert Walters, BEST Employment
  • Sue Thomson, McLean Care (Vice President)
  • Wendy Wilks, Telstra Store Inverell

These Councillors, joined by Local Chambers had an opportunity to hear from NSW Business Chamber – Chief Customer Experience Officer, Richard Spencer regarding the transformational initiative (New Chamber).

Undertaken by NSW Business Chamber Board, this initiative is to develop a new membership model that puts the customer first and is technology driven. 

As always, if you want to talk business, have an opinion on what needs to be done to grow regional NSW we are always looking for authentic local stories to help our advocacy efforts. Please don’t hesitate to contact me on 0429 993 822 or joe.townsend@nswbc.com.au.


Joe Townsend – Regional Manager New England North West, NSW Business Chamber