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Breakfast meeting serves plenty of success

Emma Pritchard

When President of the Grafton Chamber of Commerce Carol Pachos spoke to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian during her visit to the Clarence Valley in October, they discussed the number of members associated with the regional chamber.

Ms. Pachos said the Premier was astounded to learn there were 140 members. At the most recent breakfast meeting of the Grafton Chamber of Commerce on May 19, Ms. Pachos revealed membership numbers have since grown to just shy of 180. “We’re in a very strong position as a regional chamber,” she said proudly to the crowd of more than 70 people in attendance. “The support we’re receiving from local businesses and the community is significant, and I’m really happy we have welcomed so many new members recently.”

Ms. Pachos also said the new membership packages will be available this month. As she left several members of the crowd contemplating joining the Grafton Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Pachos handed the microphone to a spokesperson from Clarence Valley Council, who addressed the upcoming council election, namely the candidate information seminars being held at the Grafton Regional Gallery on July 12. The spokesperson also encouraged residents to approach members of the council, who will “be out and about in Grafton between June 1-3, to consult with community members about their aspirations for the local government area.”

In between handing the microphone from a guest speaker to a guest speaker, Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan offered his apologies for being unable to attend via video link from Northern Queensland where he was fulfilling Ministerial duties. As he acknowledged the regional chamber for their tremendous efforts during the past 12 months, Mr. Hogan also spoke about falling unemployment rates as the economy continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.    “We’re seeing the unemployment rate continuing to fall and these numbers are coming after JobKeeper has ended, which is very encouraging,” he said.

And he wasn’t the only speaker to deliver encouraging news. Local SES volunteer and Coldstream Gallery owner Steve Pickering spoke about the importance of volunteering within the local community and encouraged more residents to volunteer with the SES. The final guest speaker was Jane Laverty, Regional Manager of the NSW Business Chamber who congratulated the Grafton Chamber of Commerce for their resilience and determination in overcoming a difficult and unprecedented 12-month period. “Border closures, festival, and local event cancellations have seen 2020 and early 2021 deliver difficult and challenging times,” she acknowledged.

“Growing membership numbers is one of the first signs of positive confidence in local businesses and I would like to encourage more people to become involved with the Grafton Chamber of Commerce.”

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