Call out for ideas

LOCAL businesses have been called on to provide ideas about the potential growth of this region.

The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry has organised a series of business convention workshops in regional communities including one to be held in Traralgon this month.

VECCI Gippsland Regional Council chair Mark Answerth was joined by Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester and State Member for Morwell Russell Northe this week, in an effort to encourage local businesses and community representatives to attend the Gippsland event.

Mr Northe, also State Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business, said the convention was particularly important for Gippsland businesses to share ideas and initiatives.

He said the State Government had “many programs and services” supporting the small business sector, including the $15 million Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund.

“This fund provides an opportunity for local businesses to obtain funding where job creation and growth can be demonstrated,” he said.

Mr Chester said he had been running a ‘Putting Locals First’ campaign to support the local small business sector and that “shopping locally and utilising local services are two ways to make sure that there are future employment opportunities for young people in the region”.

“The Gippsland small business sector is the engine room of our economy and a key driver in job creation,” Mr Chester said.

“Successful small businesses are critical to regional communities where, in addition to providing goods or services and creating employment, they are major supporters of local schools, community groups and sporting clubs.”

Mr Answerth said the convention would bring together local business people and members of the community to identify and explore issues facing regional Victorian communities.

The findings would then assist VECCI to set its business development agenda for 2013 and beyond, he said.

“There are a number of issues facing regional Victoria and our region in particular has some very direct challenges that we all need to work together on,” Mr Answerth said.

The workshop is free and will be held at the Quality Inn Latrobe Convention Centre from 11am on Wednesday, 22 August. To register, log on to by Friday, 17 August.