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  • 10/09/2019 2:48 PM | Anonymous

    The new documentary 2040 has inspired the first ever Regeneration Weekend in the Southern Highlands. 
    Damon Gameau’s documentary 2040 has inspired The Mill Bowral to host the event in partnership with WILDfest, Carousel Lifestyle, and Quarter Acre Farm.

    From 6pm on Friday 25 October 2019, an exclusive screening of the film, 2040 will take place in The Mill’s courtyard and be followed up by a panel discussion including filmmaker, Damon Gameau, Bob Hawke Landcare Award winner, Charlie Arnott, Hamish Mackay Director of Biodynamics2024, Lizzie Buscaino from Piccolo Farm and Joanne Dodd from Quarter Acre Farm.

    On Saturday from 10am until 6pm, The Mill will come alive with more 2040 film screenings, sustainability workshops, expert speakers, local fresh produce for sale as well as artisan stalls to enable locals to be informed and take immediate action.

    Together with Hamish Mackay, a renowned biodynamic practitioner and educator, Charlie Arnott from Boorowa NSW, 2018 Bob Hawke Landcare Award recipient and recent winner of the delicious. Produce Award for Outstanding Innovation, Sustainability and Community, will also run two workshops at the event. More workshops are being added each week.

    The events are free, but gold coin donations are appreciated. RSVP via https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/2040-regeneration-weekend-tickets-71568873427?fbclid=IwAR2Tb4VQMFAyWyL7khrjBuAQmna82P1Trg-rBWzm19Ejhf8XSHQu60WHx3w

    Let the regeneration revolution in the Highlands, begin #whatsyour2040

  • 10/09/2019 2:41 PM | Anonymous

    A powerful business tool that is often underused by some companies is social media. Did you know 77% of people are more likely to buy a product from a company they have engaged with on social media? This is a great tool for smaller businesses especially, who may not be willing to spend funds on other advertising forms, like television or print. For the most part, social media advertising is free.

    Not all social media channels may be suitable for your business. You should invest your time and skills in the platforms where you're most likely to reach your target audience. The obvious are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Youtube, but there are countless others like Snap Chat, Tik-Tok, Instagram and Reddit which may be suitable, depending on your audience and the products or services you’re trying to promote. It’s all about research; researching each platform in depth will show you which platforms are going to grow your business.

    Some tips for using social media effectively for your business include:

    Be Consistent

    How consistently you post should be specific to each social media site you’re utilizing. Some platforms like Twitter and Instagram stories require you to be active multiple times per day to get the maximum potential from your audience. Other post types, like regular Instagram posts and Facebook updates, don’t have as much urgency and can be used less.

    Create a Bond With the Audience

    It’s great that you have established a steady customer base. But using social media to market your business will help you get more sales from your existing customers in addition to acquiring new ones. The key to gaining new customers is to create a strong emotional bond through the pictures and stories you are posting, to attract new viewers and strengthen bonds with your existing customers.

    Don’t Over-Promote

    One trap that businesses often fall into is treating social media too much like regular advertising. Creating a constant stream of promotion will overwhelm and bore customers. You need to create content that people will actually enjoy and want to see. Promoting yourself is important, but make sure to break it up with news, comments on current events or even just ask a question. You don’t have to entirely avoid mentioning your brand in these posts; just be careful not to sell it too hard.


  • 08/09/2019 10:03 AM | Anonymous


    NBN Co

    Many of the gripes businesses have about their NBN connection could be due to them using broadband packages that are unsuitable for their needs, with NBN Co’s head of business revealing that five in six firms are using residential connections.

    Addressing COSBOA’s National Small Business Summit in Melbourne last week, NBN Co’s chief customer officer for business, Paul Tyler, admitted that more education is needed to get SMEs onto the right NBN products, stating that around a third of medium businesses report that NBN is not meeting their needs.

    “We all know that customer experience of businesses on NBN varies, and not always for the best — we recognise that,” he said, adding that “we’ve done a bad job of explaining” the differences in the broadband products available.

    “Your members [business associations] tell us that the more digitally sophisticated a business, the less satisfied they actually are on NBN. They have higher expectations of NBN than your average residential consumer; they have less tolerance to issues and their related impacts; their commercial and customer ramifications of any interruption are that much more devastating actually to businesses.”

    He also acknowledged that SMEs struggle to navigate the structures of NBN Co as the wholesaler, and telcos and internet service providers (ISPs) as the retailers of NBN services.“THE VAST BULK OF THE

    At the heart of the vast majority of business concerns about NBN, according to Mr Tyler, is that most are relying on residential-grade connections which were never meant for businesses. He said that around 500,000 of the 600,000 businesses already on the network are using residential connections.

    “Underpinning much of the poor experience we get from some parts of the customer base is that 75 per cent of those dissatisfied customers are connecting to NBN on a basic residential service,” he said.

    “They’re using a service that has not been designed to meet the much more demanding use cases of some business applications. They’re not being connected to the network with a business-grade service model that is where their responsiveness requirements are being delivered.”

    As such, Mr Tyler said that the result is a need to get this “vast body of businesses” to understand exactly what their internet needs are, and what is available on NBN, and then matching the two.

    In a bid to help address this problem, Mr Tyler said that NBN Co has “trained and accredited 1,100 local businesses” that engage with other SMEs about their internet requirements and ensure they are on the plan that best meets those needs.

    NBN Co has also unveiled an online tool on its site, called the Solution Finder, in a bid to help connect Australian businesses with the NBN product that best meets their broadband usage requirements.

    Aren’t all connections the same?

    Mr Tyler subsequently told My Business that education around the different types of products available from NBN is a crucial part of its public-facing activities, which have been purpose-built for different use cases.

    “Whilst NBN can do as much as is possible to improve the underlying network, we need the consumers to make sure they are buying the right product,” he saidAPPLICATION NEED, THEN TE

    He added: “So, that’s another thing we’re trying to do, is really educate end users about ensuring they understand what their needs are: that they understand the type of traffic usage that they are going to require, the balance between upload and download speeds, the kind of responsiveness they expect from their retailer and wholesaler in fixing things when they go wrong.”

    So, what are the fundamental differences between business grade and residential products?

    Mr Tyler said that because no user and no business is identical, the differences in demand can vary greatly. But essentially, the residential offerings are effectively based on “speed tiers”, which can suit many businesses, depending on their usage. Business-specific plans, however, can offer greater variation than residential ones.

    Commercial-grade options can include different speed tiers that can match download and upload speeds. But the peak differentiator, particularly for the more expensive business products, comes down to dedicated bandwidth, “whereas in the residential world, it’s a shared bandwidth”, Mr Tyler said.

    “In the business world, it’s [often] a different peak time,” he added.

    According to Mr Tyler, a rural Tasmanian-based reseller operating an e-commerce site “completely unlocked their business” by using the Solution Finder to identify, and subsequently switch to, an NBN package that better suited their operational needs.

    ‘If it doesn’t exist, we’ll build it’

    Another perhaps little-known function of NBN is to develop custom-made solutions — usually to enterprises because of the cost involved  where existing services are insufficient.

    “If it doesn’t exist, we’ll build it,” Mr Tyler said at the summit.

    Elaborating on this with My Business, Mr Tyler explained this service is offered under the Technology Choice Program.

    “There’s always been a way for end users to engage with NBN to upgrade their network or change the technology type they’re on,” he said.

    “That’s been available since NBN launched.”

    He cited the example of a Tasmanian private school, which used the point-to-point fibre “top-end” offering as part of the early stage NBN rollout, as one example of this direct engagement in developing a customised solution.

    “They had a demand, it was a demand for a much more robust, highly capable offering than the traditional offering that we would have deployed in that area. They wanted to order that grade of service. They placed the order with the retailer, the retailer placed the order with us, and we built an appropriate technology to deliver that service,” Mr Tyler said.

    Where does responsibility lie between NBN and the ISP?

    Mr Tyler acknowledged that there is some confusion around the role of NBN.

    “Where the end user has an issue, they should raise their issue with their retailer, and then the retailer will raise the issue with NBN, if it is an issue with NBN.”

    Rollout nearing completion

    Mr Tyler also pointed to the size of the NBN rollout as one of the country’s biggest ever projects, suggesting that teething issues were inevitable with something of this scale.

    “The NBN project is one of the largest infrastructure projects that Australia has ever undertaken,” he said.

    “Building that ubiquitous, high-speed broadband network that works for everybody, no matter where they live across the vast country of Australia, does mean complexity at scale.

    “We’re in the last 12 months of the build program... 5.5 million homes and businesses are now users of NBN.” 

    He added that in the remaining year of the network’s rollout, 50,000 homes and 20,000 businesses are being connected every month, with more than 10 million now connected to the network.

    “We’re on the home stretch,” he said.

  • 03/09/2019 12:19 PM | Anonymous

    SKILLS SHORTAGES A MAJOR ISSUE FOR BUSINESSES IN THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS

    Businesses in the Southern Highlands have reported experiencing a skills shortage, according to the 2019 Workforce Skills Survey released by the NSW Business Chamber.

    Released today to coincide with the start of National Skills Week, the survey has also found the state-wide workforce shortage has widened significantly, with job vacancies growing from 54,000 in 2017 to 82,000 in 2019.

    Of businesses surveyed in the statistical region of the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven, half indicated that the skills shortages experienced were in trade skills and 78 percent of businesses indicated that skills shortages were increasing workloads for existing staff.

    Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director Adam Zarth said that the survey results highlight the need for a greater emphasis on training the next generation in order to sustain the region’s economic growth.

    “This widening workforce and skills gap will hamper our economy unless action is taken to address the mismatch between the skills young people are obtaining and the skills businesses require,” said Mr Zarth.

    “We are also concerned about rising levels of youth unemployment in the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven statistical region, which has risen to 18.7 percent in July, up from 9.4 percent in April, after a period of improvement,”

    “We see a key area of underperformance as being in school-based apprenticeships and traineeships, where Queensland is delivering almost four times as many as NSW,”

    “Locally, only 3.8 percent of businesses operating in the region reported employing a school-based apprentice or trainee, so we are calling for these to be doubled across the state each year,”

    “Sixty percent of businesses said that the education system was not adequately equipping young people to enter the workforce, so we are also calling for industry-based career advice for students and parents starting in year nine for all schools in NSW,” Mr Zarth said.

    Key survey findings can be found at: https://www.nswbusinesschamber.com.au/Issues/Issues/Workforce-Skills/Recent-submissions-and-publications  

    Media Contact: Adam Zarth – 0404 146 829

  • 29/07/2019 5:30 PM | Anonymous

    You are invited to a free parenting information session. You will be introduced to the key elements of the Good Enough Parenting program developed by John and Karen Louis to provide guidance to parents so that they may engage with their children in a way that:

    1. Meets their core emotional needs

    2. Avoids exasperating them

    You will also be invited to take part in ongoing group training sessions in the weeks following this information evening, with groups likely to be formed for parents of children aged:

    • 0 –3 years old (The toddler years)

    • 4 –7 years old (Early childhood years)

    • 8 –12 years old (Middle childhood years)

    • 13 –17 years old (Adolescence)

    This evening will be hosted by local psychologist and educator, Gerald Haslinger, who will be facilitating all ongoing group training sessions in his Bowral office.

    WHEN: Friday 6th September 2019, 5.30pm for 6.00pm start, 7.00pm finish

    WHERE: Mittagong RSL, Cnr Hume Hwy & Bessemer St, Mittagong, NSW, 2575

    WHO: Parents with children of all ages, pregnant mums and all dads please!

    Email your interest to info@mhta.com.au as numbers are strictly limited.



  • 09/07/2019 3:40 PM | Anonymous

    Valentina Borbone (Val) is the owner of Banter Group (full service marketing agency) and Speak Group (digital marketing training company). She lives in Bowral and her businesses are based on Station Street. She's also an Industry Expert Advisor for the International Social Media Association (ISMA). Banter can manage your social media, design your branding and signage, create your cinema ad, write marketing strategies and plans, or build your website. You name it, they do it.

    Val set up her businesses specifically to help small businesses work out the best way to promote their offering to the audiences, either locally, through tourism, or globally. Her mission was to provide a local working environment for experienced people who didn't want to commute long distances, and those who wanted a continue to deliver great work for businesses.

    Her children are thriving at Moss Vale Public School with her daughter integrated into the Support Unit, and her husband is the Site Manager at Camp Wombaroo, part of the Moss Vale based Outdoor Education Group.


  • 07/07/2019 10:21 AM | Anonymous

    Stronger Country Communities Fund email header image

    Stronger Country Communities Fund – Round Three is open now

    Stronger Country Communities Fund Round Three is now open, delivering $100 million to support crucial local infrastructure and programs that improve the quality of life of people living in regional NSW. Since 2017, the Stronger Country Communities Fund has supported more than 1,000 local projects that make regional communities even better places to call home.

    There are key changes in Round Three – the funding envelope is $100 million with at least $50 million of this dedicated to youth-related infrastructure and initiatives.

    For the first time, the Stronger Country Communities Fund has been expanded to cover programs and events as well as infrastructure, and not-for-profit and community organisations can apply for funding. The application period has also been extended to three months, giving organisations more time to prepare their applications.

    Key dates

    Applications open – 9am, Monday 1 July 2019

    Applications close – 5pm, Friday 27 September 2019

    Applications assessed – October to January 2020

    Successful projects announced – from January 2020

    For more information

    You can find the 2019 Program guidelines, frequently asked questions and project plan/budget templates on the Stronger Country Communities Fund web page

    How to apply

    Applications should be submitted online through the SmartyGrants online portal. Remember, applications must be submitted by 5pm on Friday 27 September.

    Holland Park Pool, West Wyalong

    Growing Local Economies Fund – temporary pause 

    Launched in August 2017, the Growing Local Economies Fund invests in the crucial projects needed to support job creation and economic growth in regional NSW. The NSW Government is committed to ensuring the Growing Local Economies Fund maximises benefit to our towns and communities in regional NSW. A review of the program will make sure the program is being administered effectively and is on track to deliver the stated objectives.

    A temporary pause on new applications will start from midnight on 14 July 2019. The fund will not be open to new applications from this date until further notice.

    The Growing Local Economies Fund will re-open once the review has been completed.

    You can read more information and frequently asked questions about the pause on the Growing Local Economies web page.

  • 07/07/2019 10:13 AM | Anonymous

     Employers with 20 or more workers are now past their 12-month introductory period for Single Touch Payroll, with the ATO outlining what and how penalties will apply for late or missed reports.

    The ATO has repeated its previous position that no penalties would apply for the first 12 months of Single Touch Payroll (STP), which took effect for larger employers from 1 July 2018 and has now been rolled out to smaller employers (those with 19 or less employees) from 1 July 2019.

    However, with the 12-month waiver on penalties now over for larger employers, the Tax Office has clarified what these penalties will look like and how they will be applied.

    “There are penalties for late or missed STP reports, although the ATO would generally only apply these penalties where an employer is routinely and repeatedly late,” the spokesperson said.

    “The penalty is calculated at the rate of $210 for each 28 days or part thereof that the Single Touch Payroll report(s) is/are overdue (to a maximum of $1,050).

    “This penalty increases to a maximum of $2,100 for medium entities, $5,250 for large entities and $525,000 for significant global entities.”

    Such penalties would “generally” only apply where the employer has not rectified the error “within a reasonable time frame”, the ATO suggested.

    “The STP law allows for the commissioner to provide a period of grace for an employer to correct a mistake without penalty; as such, we would generally only apply penalty where an employer knowingly reports incorrect information and does not correct it within a reasonable time frame — usually that period is 14 days.”

    There will also be fines for lodging false or misleading reports, the spokesperson confirmed.

    The clarification around penalties comes amid revelations that thousands of larger employers – potentially even government agencies – were yet to begin STP reporting ahead of June 30.

    According to the Tax Office’s spokesperson, its focus remains on assisting smaller businesses to become STP compliant, reiterating that these employers will not face penalties for mistakes or missed lodgements over the next 12 months.

    Small and micro businesses are legally required to begin reporting their payroll and superannuation information via the STP system from Monday, 1 July 2019, although there is a three-month grace period through to 30 September.

    There is also a 12-month waiver for closely held employees, including immediate family members.

    Despite these extensions, accountants have suggested small businesses “rip the band-aid off” and begin their reporting as soon as they can, rather than leaving things to the last minute or taking a piecemeal approach according to different types of employees.



  • 07/07/2019 9:37 AM | Anonymous
    Wingecarribee Shire Council has  appointed Jan Campbell as Coordinator of Economic Development and Izabella Lane as Coordinator of Tourism.
    The announcement was made by Wingecarribee Shire General Manager, Ann Prendergast.
    “Jan and Izabella’s appointments are the next step in our Shire capitalising on the enormous business opportunities we believe the Southern Highlands has to offer,” she said.
    Ms Campbell takes on the Economic Development role following years of experience in similar positions at a number of Sydney Councils. Likewise Ms Lane comes with a strong background in tourism management having coordinated many of the Shire’s high-profile tourism campaigns and events.
    The announcements come on the back of the recent merger of Council’s Tourism and Economic Development portfolios whereby Group Manager Steve Rosa took the reins of both departments.
    “Both Jan and Izabella will work closely with Steve at the Southern Highlands Welcome Centre in Mittagong,” Ms Prendergast said.
    “It’s here that they’ll centre their ‘concierge’ business and visitor model designed to showcase just why the Southern Highlands is the ideal destination to live, work, invest and visit.”
    “I encourage anyone considering either visiting, relocating or wishing to seek advice on local industry and business opportunities to book an appointment with the team to discuss how they can assist.”
    To contact either Jan Campbell or Izabella Lane at the Mittagong-based Welcome Centre phone 4871 2888 or email tourism@wsc.nsw.gov.au.


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