Welcome to the November edition of the voice, Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce’s eNewsletter. This month we deliver information on exciting things happening in our city and urge you to please support each other as we approach the silly season by shopping locally.


Kennards Hire Rally Australia is the Australian leg and final round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), one of the world’s most diverse, exciting and gruelling motorsport competitions. The Coffs Coast round is where the World Championship will be won and the winner crowned!

The Australian round of the WRC attracts massive global coverage with a television audience of 141 million viewers. It provides an economic benefit to the to the region of more than $10 million each year. FIA have announced the WRC will once again hold it’s season finale in Coffs Harbour from 14-17 November 2019.

From the start of the rally today, this year at the Jetty Foreshore, to the pit crew action at Pedders Rally Central; from the exhilarating Super Special Stages, to the podium finish on Sunday afternoon, we encourage you to get out and enjoy some of the exciting, family-friendly and free Rally events close to home.

Download Rally Fact Sheets


We are delighted to be welcoming Steven Burgess, one of Australia’s leading contributors to the planning, design and development of liveable cities to present at our November Chamber Breakfast.

A Principal with boutique Australasian transportation consultancy MRCagney, Steven brings 25 years’ experience as an engineer and urban strategist to the development of long-term relationships between urban form, parking, mobility and vitality. Steven has worked on many village, town and city transformation projects in Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Middle East.

Steven authored “Complete Streets – Guidelines to Urban Street Design”, published in 2010, was an international reviewer for the NACTO/Bloomberg Global Street Design initiative (published 2016) and is currently preparing street design guidelines for the City of Auckland. Steven is a popular speaker throughout Australasia, North America and Middle East on better movement, better cities and better places.

Steven will be presenting to our members and guests on, “Creating Better Movement, Better Cities & Better Places”.

He will talk about future trends but not get too lost in detail about them. It will be more in respect to making sure we use the technologies to achieve what we want for our city, not letting technology dictate the terms.

Following Steven’s presentation we will have a brief presentation about the pending AV (Autonomous Vehicles) and in this case, the driverless bus that will be trialled for 12 months over 3 different locations in Coffs Harbour, specifics about the operations of AV’s, past trial experience and other aspects that would be of interest to the business community.

RSVP to the Chamber office
Cost: $35 members $45 non members


Chamber of Commerce President, Martin Wells is calling on all levels of government to cease all hostilities as tensions escalate over the bypass for the sake of business and community confidence.

From the Chamber’s perspective they should cease all hostilities immediately and just bury the hatchet, The relationship is becoming too fractured, we just need to get on with the job at hand and get the bypass completed.

The Chamber’s position follows the angry reaction and the emerging war of words from our state and federal politicians after Coffs Harbour City Council’s vote last week to establish a working group to fight the current plan which includes cuttings and demand that tunnels be reinstated.

The Chamber can understand Council’s position as it’s a different design to what was first proposed but there’s reasons for that. Coffs Harbour has this risk of falling into a kind of circular discussion on things when we have opportunities in front of us. The Chamber’s position is that Coffs Harbour will benefit immensely from having a bypass constructed.

A poll conducted by the Coffs Coast Advocate on the issue reported that the majority (76 per cent) wanted tunnels as originally proposed. Twenty per cent voted for cuttings and land bridges while two per cent were undecided. Approximately one thousand people voted in the poll.


Coffs Harbour NSW has once again been recognised as the home of major events with Sydney and Coffs Harbour both bestowed the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) 2018 World Festival and Event City Award.

Coffs Harbour has received the Award for the fourth year in a row. The region has hosted some of the biggest sporting events in Australia over the past year, including Rally Australia, the Australian Ladies Classic and Women’s NSW Golf Open, the FFA National Youth Championships and two one-day internationals as part of the Women’s Ashes series.

Well done Coffs Harbour!


The Bishop Druitt College Annual Golf Day is being held this Sunday 18 November at Bonville Golf Resort.

It’s a four person ambrose competition and the day includes 18 holes of golf, 2 golf carts per team with food and beverage ticket and concludes with end-of-day canapés on the lawn.


There are a few team spots available and if any Chamber members would like to join in, you are most welcome to attend. Click here for costs and registration details.



Coffs Harbour City Council is seeking community opinion about what makes our places and precincts unique by having residents, workers and visitors complete a survey.

Council have engaged a consultancy form Place Score to establish a benchmark for what our community cares about in their locality.

From 2 Nov – 2 Dec 2018 Coffs Harbour City Council will be conducting an online Care Factor survey to gather information about what the community cares about most in their neighbourhoods. This survey applies to all places within the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area.

The initial steps which have commenced will be to undertake online and face-to-face surveys across the entire Local Government Area (LGA). The process will both capture what place attributes the community values as well as how the community rates these attributes for their neighbourhoods to help define local priorities. A total of 33 precincts and places will be measured and the data collected will help Council diagnose ‘place’ problems and measure change to understand where it is doing well and where there is room for improvement.

Each survey takes around ten (10) minutes to complete and gives you the chance to win one of ten $100 vouchers!

Click here to complete the Survey

Why is Council engaging with Place Score?

What are the main benefits of having Place Scores for Coffs?



Chamber members and local businesses have an opportunity to be a sponsor of the first exhibition of 2019 at the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, a fundraiser titled – New Year: New Work scheduled for 1 February – 2 March.

This exhibition will capture the breadth and vitality of our local arts community and raise the profile of artists working in the Coffs Coast region. The Gallery has invited around 55 artists to participate, some of whom have a national reputation, others are recognised regionally while some are in the early stages of their career. The exhibition includes some fantastic local Aboriginal artists, young artists and others who are new to the area. It will include painting, sculpture, printmaking, and a range of other mediums all within a 50 x 50 cm format.

In a few short years, it is planned to have a new purpose built regional gallery, library and museum located in the CBD – commensurate with the size and needs of our beautiful city. New Year: New Work aims to create links between our arts and business communities. The new gallery has the potential to lift the profile of Coffs Harbour as a vibrant and creative place to live and work, generating more visitors to the CBD – locals and tourists alike.

The Friends of the Gallery is a community based advocacy and support organisation that sits alongside the gallery. It’s members share a common passion for the arts and art related events and they come together for social functions and networking events. The money raised by the Friends goes to acquiring art works for the gallery’s collection and other gallery related project initiatives that have taken place such as MONA (September 2018) and Art Goes to Court (November 2017).

The vision for this exhibition is to be a fundraising partnership between the Friends of the Gallery and the Chamber, its members and the business community. We encourage you all to embrace this opportunity as the aim is to promote both local businesses and local artists.

Businesses have the opportunity to sponsor one or more artworks for as little as $200 each. Businesses will be invited to the opening of the New Year: New York Exhibition, be acknowledged at the opening of the exhibition, have the opportunity to meet the artists in person, network and connect and be recognised with their company name on the wall label alongside the artwork details and artist. The gallery will match businesses with artworks unless you or the artist has expressly requested a particular artist or business.

See here for full details or register your interest directly with the Friends of Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery at thefriendschrg@gmail.com.

To find out more, you can also contact:
Cath Fogarty, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery
P: 0409 876 432
E: catherine.fogarty@chcc.nsw.gov.au

Heather McKinnon, Friends of Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery
P: 0411 444 535
E: heather@bryantmckinnon.com.au


The crippling drought impacting most of NSW has seen business confidence dip, according to the latest Business Conditions Survey released by the NSW Business Chamber.

Results show that September’s tougher trading conditions are a flow on effect from the 84 per cent of businesses across the state who reported being impacted by the drought in August.

Compounding the state’s sluggish quarter are higher operating costs and a downward trend in revenue.

Coffs-Harbour – Grafton took a hit with business confidence in the region declining and below average. Additionally, unemployment and youth unemployment remain relatively high when compared to other regions across the state.

Results across the state were not uniform however, with the Mid North Coast performing well. Business confidence in the region improved and was above average and unemployment remains relatively low.

NSW remains number one, with 151,000 new jobs created within the past year and the lowest unemployment rate in Australia. While this is encouraging news, we are now seeing the impacts of the drought hit business, particularly in the Regions.

Lower levels of capital spending this quarter show businesses are tightening their belts and delaying major spending decisions. Higher operating costs have continued to plague business at a time where 4 in 5 businesses are seeing cash flow dry up, and they are having to spend what cash they do have on overpriced operating bills like energy.

This Chamber is supporting the NSW Business Chamber in advocating the need to see a stronger commitment for affordable energy, drought-focused support services that assist businesses – like ATO payment plans to assist tax obligations in drought stricken areas – and a renewed focus on delivering skills training for our young people.

From a State Government standpoint, focus needs to remain on delivering the infrastructure spending (especially in rural and regional NSW) to make sure that our economy goes from strength-to-strength. While many members of our business community are being rocked by factors beyond their control, the Government has the ability to stimulate an even stronger economy.


As a small business, you don’t always have the time, resources or expertise when it comes to managing health and safety in the workplace. That’s why SafeWork NSW has developed the Easy to Do WHS toolkit specifically for you.
This toolkit steps you through the elements of best practice and helps make your workplace safer, healthier and more productive, in the easiest way possible.
There is also a series of FREE Easy to Do WHS workshops to find out how the new toolkit can assist you.

Checkout the Toolkit




You’re invited to FoodCon 2018… come along and create collaboration, share ideas, gain knowledge, be inspired!

If you’re a farmer, fisherman, grower, manufacturer, distributor, chef, caterer, retailer, restaurateur, providore, student or business supporting local farmers and foodies…this is the event for you!

FoodCon 2018 is an annual agrifood industry event organised by Coffs Harbour City Council, coming up on November 26.

It’s designed for the key players across the food chain on the Mid-North Coast to connect with each other, showcase products and services, and inspire the future direction for our region’s food industry.
From paddock to plate, farmers to chefs, producers to providers, the connections and collaborations made possible by bringing local foodies together are invaluable, and is what FoodCon is all about.

• A great balance of informative, inspiring talks and time to connect.
• Special guest speakers: Chef turned farmer, Paul West from SBS’s River Cottage Australia; regional food strategist Rose Wright; and Airlie Trescowthick, founder of Farm Table.
• The Producers’ Expo and Local Food Lunch showcasing the best of our region
• FREE ENTRY for those involved in any part of the agri-food industry (including students, tourism and supporting services).
Please note: this is a ‘trade only’ event and is not open to the general public.

Register now – bookings essential



Council’s new Business Incentive Policy provides a holistic approach to support business investment and reinvestment in the regional economy and encourage diversification of the economy.
The policy provides a range of solutions that deal with developer charges and contributions arising from the development process. There are a variety of incentives that will allow businesses, depending on their eligibility, to take advantage of this policy.


1. Developer Contributions Incentives – provides incentives for the establishment or reinvestment into employment generating businesses and/or small businesses.
a. Employment generating incentive – if your proposed business development creates jobs across the LGA, you may be entitled to a 40% discount off your developer contribution for business premise development. Your application will need to nominate that your development is an employment generating development (e.g. in your business case, you can show that the building addition to your premise will result in additional jobs within your business).
b. Eligible Business enterprise – a proposed change of use DA that assists to establish or develop a small business in a rented premise, may be entitled to a percentage discount of their DA depending on size of development. For example converting a current use retail space to office space, providing both uses are allowable in the zoning. This incentive can be cumulatively used with the employment generating incentive.

2. Developer Charges Incentives – provides an incentive for all commercial and industrial development where there is a change of use. This incentive provides an opportunity to reduce upfront establishment costs such as developer charges for sewer and water.

3. Enhanced Deferred Payments Incentives – a developer of a business premise may apply for a deferred payment of developer contributions to assist with establishment of or investment into a business premise.

View the Full Policy here



Congratulations to these Coffs Coast tourism businesses who have been selected as finalists in the NSW Tourism Awards for 2018.

Winners will be announced at the NSW Tourism Awards Presentation Night on Thursday 22 November at Luna Park, Sydney. Winners from 25 aligned national categories will then represent NSW at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards on Friday 1 March 2019 in Launceston.

Tourist Attractions
Forestry Corporation of NSW – Sealy Lookout, Orara East State Forest

Festivals and Events
Woolgoolga and Northern Beaches Chamber of Commerce – Woolgoolga Curryfest

Jetty Dive Centre

Cultural Tourism
Bunker Cartoon Gallery

Qantas Award for Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism
Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation – Giingan Gumbaynggirr Cultural Experience
Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours

Destination Marketing
Coffs Harbour City Council – Industry and Destination Development

Self Contained Accommodation
Riverside Holiday Resort Urunga

Standard Accommodation
Heritage Hotel Motel

New Tourism Business
Open Air Picnics

Excellence in Food Tourism
The Cheesemaking Workshop

Congratulations and best of luck!


This Christmas, from early December till the end of January, the National Cartoon Gallery @ The Bunker is running a ‘Surf’s Up’ Exhibition.

The Gallery has a great collection of surfing related cartoons ready to display, plus children’s activities being organised to attract young visitors. The support of Narranga Primary School has also been enlisted where the children have been busy creating a long collage of surfing and summer images to decorate the ceiling of the gallery. To complement all this, they have other items that have historical relevance on loan from the Surf Club and members of the community for the duration of the exhibition.

The exhibition will be open every day from 10am – 4pm (closed only on Christmas Day).


The Chamber acknowledges the support and commitment from our various sponsors.
Our Platinum Partners:

                                        Park Beach Plaza Logo                        CEX Group Logo                     Southern Cross University Logo