Welcome to the December edition of the voice, Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce’s eNewsletter. This month we deliver information on exciting things happening in our city as we head into 2019 and we wish you and your families a very Merry and Safe Christmas.


On reflection 2018 will be remembered as the year of change, introduction of new projects, and pushing forward from your Chamber.

Personally it was an honour to be elected to the position of President at the AGM, accepting the challenge of fulfilling a vital role for all members and business owners, and a role that was carried out with such passion, success and progress by George Cecato for the prior 4 years.

The Committee of Management has been focused on achieving, growing and providing opportunity to our members. There are simply too many successes to list in such a short space however some of the highlights include:
• In response to member requests, our inaugural Coffs Coast Business Expo was held at Opal Cove in August
• The delivery of a high calibre and varied speaker list including Kurt Fearnley, Jacqui Cooper, Steven Burgess, Gary White and Deputy Premier, John Barilaro
• The delivery of a bigger, better Sunny’s Business Awards with numerous local businesses being recognised through to State level
• The delivery of a bigger, better Chamber Golf Day (one of our major fundraisers)
• Supporting Coffs Harbour City Council in their lobbying of State and Federal governments for grant funding for infrastructure upgrades at the C.ex Coffs International Stadium. Successful in achieving funding totaling $16.5m ($6.5m Federal grant towards infrastructure including a new $13.4m grandstand and a $10m State grant for stadium precinct infrastructure upgrades) – WIN!
• Lobbying at State level for amendments to the Payroll Tax to assist businesses – WIN!
• Constant lobbying at all government levels for the Coffs Harbour By-Pass – WIN!
• Lobbying at the Federal level for $12m for a Allied Health Building….construction has now commenced – WIN!
• Lobbying at the Local level for Jetty Foreshores Beautification Stages 1-4 –WIN!
• Lobbying for grant funding for Jetty Foreshores Beautification Stage 5 – Work in Progress
• Lobbying for International Airport and an International Hotel –Work in Progress
• Lobbying for Coffs Harbour to be a fast rail destination – Work in Progress
• Lobbying for Coffs Harbour to get a multi-purpose Indoor Sports Facility – Work in Progress
• Supporting the activation and re-vitalisation of the CBD through construction of the Cultural & Civic Space, review of CBD height limits, feedback on City Square
• Calling for immediate action on improvements at the Coffs Harbour Boat Ramp after multiple incidents during the Easter holiday period.
• Active participant in the NSW Government Jetty Precinct Project – Work in Progress

Some other ideas we may pursue dependent on member feedback include:
• Realign North Coast rail line west out of the centre of Sawtell and Coffs Harbour
• Extension finger for south wall for a permanent solution to the harbour and boat ramp silting and surge issues
• Continue to investigate the potential of becoming a cruising tourism port
• Look at further transport connectivity from Woolgoolga through to Sawtell

One thing is for sure, 2019 with looming State and Federal elections has the potential to be a game-changer for the Coffs Coast. We continue to give our members our 100% commitment that we will not rest whilst ever there is an opportunity to improve your business conditions and economic benefit. To the candidates in the upcoming elections now is the time to reach out and commit in collaboration with the Chamber, as rest assured we will vocally and actively support the candidate that provides the most comprehensive and beneficial policies for our members, and the broader community.

Thank you to our members for your support throughout 2018. From our families to yours we wish one and all a wonderful festive and holiday season and please enjoy it safely.

Martin Wells,
Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce


Does your business sometimes feel stuck or out of control?
Do you worry about profits and wonder if you can get leverage?
Do you struggle to know where you should focus your attention first?

There are primarily 2 types of businesses… those that are created by default and those that are created and grow by design!

For 25 years Sean Martyn and the team at Business By Design have been working with business owners and leaders to refine or redesign their business for growth and scale across a variety of industries, in Australia & Internationally.

Sean is a business growth specialist and from his vast experience he has identified 3 critical pathways that point to a business sweet spot.

Join us at the Chamber’s first networking event for 2019 where Sean will share the following insights:

• the 3 pathways to a business sweet spot
• the 9 accelerators to help drive your business further
• tips to identify which areas to focus on first
• how to unleash your leadership genius

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

Book your tickets today!



Bookings are now open for the 2019 Chamber of Commerce Mbt Lawyers Annual Golf Day. To be held on Thursday 7th March at Bonville Golf Resort (voted ‘Australia’s Favourite Golf Course’ for an unprecedented third year in a row), this event is popular amongst the local business community and typically a sell-out, so don’t miss out and book a place today!

You are invited to be part of this 4 Ball Medley Ambrose Event. Please refer to the golf sponsorship packages and booking form details for more information.

For now, all we need you to do is the following 3 things:
1. Block the date in your calendar
2. Confirm which golf package you wish to reserve
3. Start thinking about team selection and return the nomination booking form

Would your company like an opportunity for some great brand exposure? Any member businesses wishing to donate and have some company material or corporate branded items included in the player showbags, please contact the Chamber Office. Alternatively if there are any businesses that would like to contribute a prize for a team (4 players) on the day, please also contact the Chamber.


• We help local businesses to be profitable and remain in business
• Help local employees to maintain their employment, they in turn will spend their earnings and increase the commercial cycle. (Food, rent, electricity, car expenses, fuel, education, entertainment, mortgages, etc.)
• Support the owner of the premises, the landlord, to have an income and an investment so they can continue to invest in our City and in turn will spend their money locally (Real estate agents, tradies, finance institutions, food, rent, electricity, car expenses, fuel, education, entertainment, mortgages, etc.)
• Benefit the suppliers of the business (stationery suppliers, couriers, accountants, mechanics, tradies, food, rent, electricity, car expenses, education, fuel, entertainment, mortgages, etc.)
• Help apprentices, trainees and first-time employed to complete their training and become qualified and have a career
• Assist local charitable organisations, as local businesses are the major contributors and supporters of them
• You can buy it where you try it
• Purchase locally made or produced products
• Product knowledge and advice
• Multiplier effect – the whole community benefits from it… money stays local!
• Profitable businesses employ more people. Greater employment positively contributes to our broader community.
Let’s all do our bit to shop locally!


For a quick reference guide to hundreds of great Christmas Gift Ideas or to find out the extended trading hours at our Platinum Partner, Park Beach Plaza this festive season, please click on the respective image.




Look no further than a gourmet cheese and wine hamper carefully curated by The Cheesemaking Workshop & Deli. A wonderful present for family and friends or an easily appreciated business gift!

Each hamper has been hand selected with a range of gourmet cheeses, wines and condiments, making it an easy but elegant gift that is sure to be appreciated.

Free delivery in the Coffs CBD, order online or by calling 0458 562 135.




Looking for a great gift for Christmas? Our friends at BCC Cinemas Coffs Harbour have just the thing for you!

Movie Gift Cards are so easy, allowing you the convenience of shopping local from your desk! Email your order through by Wednesday 19 December for FREE delivery by Friday 21 December!

You can also pop in to their Pop Up Gift Sales Shop located in Coffs Central Shopping Centre until 19 December.

For more information click here.



The Screenwave International Film Festival (SWIFF) Australia’s largest regional film festival returns January 10 – 25, 2019.  

Supported by over 30 local and regional organisations, SWIFF is a cultural asset of the Coffs Coast, drawing crowds into the region in the back half of Summer.

The festival will screen over 60 different feature films this year, including Coffs Harbour’s first World Premiere, with 13 festival guests, and a line-up of events for festival goers.

Festival organiser, Screenwave has put together a toolkit that local businesses and organisations can use to promote the festival and their business. Images, films trailers, and festival information is available for download here. Do check out the link to this toolkit that’s been designed for businesses to leverage the festival for their own promotion.


Coffs Harbour City Council is currently reviewing and updating its Local Growth Management Strategy – a key document that governs how we plan for population growth over the next 20 years while protecting valuable environmental, agricultural land and neighbourhood character.

The strategy is broken up into different chapters and the first chapter to go out for public exhibition looks at Rural Lands and their use. It is currently out for community comment and input until 28 February 2019.

Find out more and have your say here.


In May 2017 the State Insurance Regulatory Authority introduced new Guidelines for Workplace Return to Work Programs for all employers in New South Wales.

SafeWork NSW will be running workshops across the state between now and May 2019 to provide businesses with information on how to develop a return to work program in accordance with these guidelines. The focus of the workshops will be on category one employers given they have some additional responsibilities and obligations. All category one employers need to meet the requirements of these guidelines by 31 May 2019.

Register for the workshop – Numbers will be limited in each location given the workshop style format. SafeWork NSW plan on arranging further sessions (yet to be listed) between March and May 2019.


A reminder for Chamber members and local businesses to take advantage of the sponsorship opportunity offered by the Friends of Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery in a new exhibition, New Year New Work, launching 1 February 2019.

The aim is to promote both local artists and businesses, while fundraising for the regional gallery’s collection and showcasing the region’s vibrant arts community.

Local businesses, large or small, are invited to sponsor an artwork for $200 and their support will be recognised on the gallery walls during the 4 week exhibition with their tagline or statement displayed, while also connecting with the artists and other sponsors at the opening event on February 1st.

Fifty invited artists from across the Coffs Coast region are busy creating a new work to fit on a 50 x 50cm piece of plywood which can be used to paint, print, draw or sculpt on. The list of artists includes well-established names with national reputations, others are recognised regionally and some are emerging artists in the early stages of their career.

The gallery team will match each business sponsor with one of the invited artists and the sponsor name and chosen statement will be displayed alongside the artwork. All sponsor funds raised go towards building the gallery’s collection. The fifty exhibiting artists also have the opportunity to sell their artworks to the public at the gallery.

There’s still time for businesses across the Coffs Coast region to become a sponsor for only $200 by emailing thefriendschrg@gmail.com.   Click here to find out more.


With the Christmas season upon us, employers need to be wary of recent changes to casual employment laws and new family and domestic violence leave entitlement obligations which may affect them.

Casual workers now have the right to ask their bosses for a permanent position if they have worked regular hours for at least one year.

It is important for businesses to ensure compliance with the obligations where required as recent caselaw indicates that non-compliance can be significant and those who fail to comply with their obligations may be liable for significant penalties.

Whilst this may seem significant it is important for employers to remember that generally, most casual employees want the higher pay and therefore, will most likely want to remain employed as casuals. So the actual impact is probably not going to be too significant.

What should employers do?

From 1 October 2018 check the applicable Modern Award or enterprise agreement to determine your obligations, familiarise yourselves with them and ensure compliance. Give all casual employees a copy of the conversion clause within the first 12 months of their first engagement. For casual employees already employed as at 1 October 2018, employers must provide them with a copy of the conversion clause by 1 January 2019.

Employers can reject a request, provided that there has been consultation with the employee and there are reasonable grounds based on facts which are known or reasonably foreseeable. A refusal must be put in writing with the reasons set out clearly. If the employee seeks to challenge the employer’s refusal, then this will be resolved through the dispute resolution provision of the Award. If a request is granted, it must be discussed and recorded in writing and will begin at the commencement of the next pay cycle.

New family and domestic violence leave entitlements

Also from 1 August, Family and domestic violence leave has been added to the National Employment Standards and applies to all employees in the Fair Work System. The new entitlement allows employees experiencing family and domestic violence to access up to 5 days of unpaid leave to do something to deal with its impacts. This includes (but isn’t limited to) taking time off to make arrangements for personal and family safety, access police services and attend court hearings.


We’d love to hear it (and put you in the spotlight!). If you have something you’d like featured in our future newsletters, please contact us via email.

We’d love to showcase your business and foster collaboration opportunities and learning and growth among our local business community.




On 25 September 2018 the Fair Work Commission expressed a provisional view to insert a model term into all modern awards in relation to requests made under section 65 of the Fair Work Act for flexible working arrangements (the September 2018 decision).

On 20 November 2018 the Commission finalised the model term as part of the 4 yearly review of modern awards. The model term will be inserted into all modern awards and will apply where an award-covered employee has made a request for a change in working arrangements under section 65 of the Fair Work Act.

Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors a division of the NSW Business Chamber was the leading employer advocate in the proceedings, which saw employers successfully oppose the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) original application which sought to give parents and carers the right to unilaterally determine their own hours.

Read more here.


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