GROWING AREA: Business leaders anticipate a strong year ahead for the region in fast-growing areas such as Springfield.
GROWING AREA: Business leaders anticipate a strong year ahead for the region in fast-growing areas such as Springfield. File

Business leaders prepare for prosperous year in the region

WITH a new year under way in Ipswich, leaders in the business community are confident the fast-growing region can expect a bright future.

The presidents of the three Chambers of Commerce in the region - Ipswich, Bremer and Springfield - took time to reflect and consider the year that was and is.

Anita Dwyer, president of the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry, along with her colleagues, Bruno Klos, president of the Bremer Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ), and Ralph Breaden, president, Springfield Chamber of Commerce and Industry, all agreed 2014 had been a tough year.

"People have had to work very hard to make ends meet, I think it has been an unpredictable year and because of that the people who are surviving are able to adjust to changing conditions. The changes have been significant from government changing rules suddenly," Ms Dwyer said.

Each chamber has a very specific role and mandate but 2014 has been one of transition, according to Mr Klos.

The CCIQ Bremer Region was formed in 2014 coming from the former WIDEN (Western Ipswich District Enterprise Group) and is supported by Ipswich City Council to encourage growth and development in the surrounding townships and districts. WIDEN was formed in February of 2011.

"We are in a transition period, the big challenge for 2014 was the name change, we have focused on membership. We are not a gentleman's club, this is about education and to that end we aim to get key speakers throughout the year," Mr Klos said.

"It is my second term as president and I am pleased with the growth and changes we have made."

CCIQ Bremer Region is moving towards another expo in March this year, following the success of one held two years ago.

Networking groups is another focus because the groups cover a large geographic area so it is important to gather people together.

"We are pleased with the investment in the CBD with big business coming to town. Goodman Australia and the development of the Redbank Motor Estate is home to DB Schenker, a global third party logistics company, also in logistics is Northline and TNT about to move in," Ms Dwyer said.

"Bombardier consortium was successful in securing the Wulkuraka new generation rolling stock development worth over four billion dollars and will bring jobs into the area."

The Ipswich Chamber of Commerce is also keen to ensure they deliver information about opportunities and training.

"We are about good service to our members and in partnership with Bremer Region and Springfield we will develop One City, One Voice as a focus for 2015," she said.

While Springfield continues on a growth trajectory, retail still feel the sting of the tough climate.

"Retailers are holding their own buoyed by new people coming into the area," Mr Breaden said.

"We have been going through some growing pains, that is about who to contact and so on, it is just all part of the development in the area."

There is no doubt that with the significant growth and development in the area including GE opening its state headquarters, the Mater Hospital, USQ second building, Robelle Domain and Orion Shopping Centre expansions will mean greater employment and opportunities.

"We are looking forward to developing the One City, One Voice concept, we are moving towards our own awards for members, our membership is growing rapidly. Our big challenge is to get NBN into the area, we need a solid internet backbone," he said.

All presidents agree on the bright future for the city and the diversity of the city is its strength.

The growth in different sectors has been shielded from the difficult financial times and a supportive council is a decided plus in promoting growth and development.

All round it seems that we can confidently say it will be a happy new year.

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