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Launceston Chamber of Commerce

Launceston Chamber of Commerce

[11.19 a.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, today I will speak about the Launceston Chamber of Commerce, established in 1849 and the oldest chamber of commerce in Australia. Its founding presidents were H Du Croz and JW Gleadow, begetting an organisation which would continuously run until this very day. At the time of its establishment, the chamber's concerns were primarily vested in shipping, pastoral and mining matters, with construction coming into focus in the following decades.

In 1876, one of the most well known figures in Launceston's commercial history, Charles Henry Smith - and I am sure we are all aware of CH Smith and the CH Smith building in Launceston - became president of the Chamber in order to boost Launceston's interest in, and exposure to, importation of goods for farming and general retail such as groceries.

Today, the Launceston Chamber of Commerce is a small organisation, operating across a significant portfolio of interests. Of its core operations, the Chamber regularly runs networking events for members to come together informally and hear about new, innovative business activities and share information and knowledge. In addition, the chamber runs more formal workshops and seminars in conjunction with other organisations, such as the University of Tasmania's Tasmanian School of Business and Economics and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, to share business intelligence and create opportunities for ongoing professional development.

As a business lobby group, the Launceston Chamber of Commerce has prolific input to public policy, informed by the wants and needs of its members and leveraged by the skills and expertise of a diverse board of directors. Key to the chamber's priorities at the moment are population growth in Launceston, inner city living and regional health networks, issues which have been picked up at the state and federal levels of government, emphasising the chamber's key role as a bellwether with policy issues relevant to the Launceston community and business climate.

The Chamber has over 200 members from large organisations such as the University of Tasmania to small and medium enterprises and individual members such as myself. Those who the board deems to have significantly contributed to the chamber and the Launceston community have been inducted as life members, including Bryan McKendrick, Brian Gordon, Peter Cooper, Max Buchanan, Margot Smart, Gordon Humphreys and David Stallard.

One of the most important functions of the Chamber is its annual business excellence awards event, a gala celebration of business success, innovation and resilience of organisations based in northern Tasmania. Previous business individuals who have rightly been acknowledged by these awards, include Ray Mostogl, Kim Seagram and Lloyd Whish-Wilson, who have been inducted into the chamber's Hall of Fame, while Kolmark Pty Ltd, Moores Hill Estate and TP Jones & Co have recently been awarded business of the year. Bianca Welsh has previously won Professional of the Year and now sits on the chamber board.

The awards for 2019 were recently launched at the Peppers Silo Hotel in Launceston with a focus on celebrating business in the north. In this year's awards, the staple categories are open for entry, including excellence in agribusiness, exceptional workplaces, marketing visitor experience and with a new category of design excellence being added to this year's mix. We are sure to see some creative and innovative entries to the competition.

In recent years, the board has taken steps towards diversifying the experience, skill and expertise of its directors. Out of 13 total board members there are five women, all of whom bring experience from the public and private sectors, including from finance, media, health, not-for-profit, supported employment enterprise, retail, hospitality, tourism and education. This formidable milieu of knowledge propels the chamber to be active as an apolitical organisation in shaping Launceston's future and exposing its members to opportunities to communicate with the leaders of other states and countries.

In its 170th year of operation, I congratulate the chamber for its continuing successes. I look forward to Launceston's interests being represented by a diverse and innovative group of chamber leaders and members for many more years. Thank you, Mr President.

Special Interest Contribution - Correction (19th June 2018)

[4.15 p.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, I have a very short contribution. It is a small correction to my special interest speech. In my special interest speech, I stated the Launceston Chamber of Commerce was Australia's oldest chamber of commerce. What I should have said was the Launceston Chamber of Commerce was Australia's oldest continuing chamber of commerce, continually running up until today.

It was founded in 1849 and it followed the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, established in 1825, and the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce, established in 1839; however, neither of these organisations are still in existence today. In 1972, the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce and the South Australian Chamber of Manufacturers merged to form the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, South Australia Inc., and in 1993, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the South Australian Employers Federation merged to form the South Australian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. The new entity was officially launched in 2000 with a new trading name, Business SA.

The Sydney Business Chamber, as it is now known, traces its heritage back to the Sydney Chamber of Commerce as the first chamber established in Australia, but does not now exist as the same organisation it started as.

The Launceston Chamber of Commerce, on the other hand, has existed since 1849 as the same organisation since that very time, neither merging with any other entities nor shifting its focus away from the very functions which define a chamber of commerce. The presidents of the Chamber are accounted for since 1849, right up until today, emphasising the continuity and consistency of its role and function as a business lobby group among other activities which the chamber undertakes. I thank the member for Hobart for pointing out to me that little inconsistency. My apologies to the Chamber, just a slight correction.

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