Bellingen Chamber of Commerce

Weekly news from the Bellingen Chamber – 11 May 2020

11 May

Business link-up – Wednesday 13 May

The three Chambers of Commerce in the Shire are combining to bring you this meeting
Our special guest this week is Rod Macpherson, Vice President of Urunga Mylstom Chamber of Commerce and General Manager of Affirmations. Rod has extensive experience in business and human resource management, and has successfully navigated Affirmations through the maze of JobKeeper and more.
Rod will guide us through some current issues around JobKeeper, commercial rentals and other matters. Of course, you will also have the opportunity to join the conversation and ask questions.
Click this link just before 8 am to join the meeting, hosted by the Urunga/Myelstom Chamber:

Resources from last week’s link up

Our special guest last week was Kate Minto, who led an excellent discussion on the mental health and wellbeing impacts of the COVID situation. Thanks to all those who participated and who shared their stories. Kate kindly offered to share some resources to distribute after the meeting. You can access those resources here.

Boost for business in bushfire affected communities

NSW Government agencies must now give first preference to appropriate local businesses, under a scheme developed by Procurement NSW. The scheme covers areas such as building works, health, hospitality and native wildlife. Click here to find out more.

Looking to the future

To help local businesses to prepare for the future, the Chamber has set up a small group to:

  • -identify challenges we are facing in the Shire, and new opportunities
  • -provide information to businesses, to support their reopening
  • -look for sources of funding.

We are calling this project Restart Bellingen, and a first step is to interview local business owners. If you would like to be interviewed for 15 to 20 minutes about your business, your experience of the restrictions and your ideas for the future, please contact Hilary Cadman ( If you would like to take part, we will provide you with the interview questions so that you can read them through beforehand (and you do not have to answer any questions that you are not comfortable with). All responses will be confidential and will not be disclosed to others, and they will be reported in an aggregated form so that individual responses will not be identifiable.

Your Chamber needs you!

Our Board has a proud history of working productively with the Bellingen Shire Council over many years. However, we have been concerned about the recent consultation process around the allocation of the $1.2 million bushfire recover funds – in particular, flaws in transparency and community consultation that do not bode well for the administration of future funding. The Board highlighted those concerns with our members and the broader community, and has actively looked for ways to improve future consultations. The Board as a whole was strongly behind those actions, and feedback from the wider membership tells us that our members are supportive of our stance. However, some members of the Board have ties, direct or indirect, with the Council, and have therefore felt the need to resign from the Board in light of the current situation. This means that we now have only six Directors – one less than the minimum number (seven) required by our Constitution.
Both Business NSW and the Department of Fair Trading have advised that we can fill casual vacancies on the Board in accordance with the constitution, without the need for an extraordinary general meeting, and that we can continue to function in the meantime, so long as we are actively seeking to fill vacancies. This means that there will be no interruption to the services that we provide to members.
The Board has therefore determined to fill casual board vacancies in the short term and to bring forward our Annual General Meeting (normally held in October or November), to enable our members to elect the board for the coming 12 months. We will hold the AGM some time in the five months following the end of the financial year.
Please look out for a separate formal notification about the process for filling the vacancies.

Bellinger Landcare local food survey

Sandy Eager, the coordinator of Bellinger Landcare, has set up a survey for people who have land suitable for growing food, are already growing food or who do not have land but are interested in growing food. The group is seeking ways to support our communities in becoming more self-sufficient and less reliant on food transported from long distances away. Click here to take the 3-minute survey.