Workplace Diversity

Fantastic start to the day

Diversity – it’s a funny word that people often have a hard time defining, particularly if they don’t have any experience with it in the workplace. Some think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, while others see it as a tick box in the latest iteration of political correctness.
The Queensland Government’s vision for inclusion and diversity recognises under-represented groups including but not limited to women, people with a disability, First Nations people, culturally and linguistically diverse people, the JGBTIQ+ community, young people, and old people.
At the Chambers most recent breakfast, diversity in the workplace was our hot topic, and a packed room heard how broadening into a diverse workforce can not only help a business reduce issues of staff shortages but can open a workplace up to a raft of new ideas, experiences, and

Peter Jordan and Kevin Rooney from maxima

ways of thinking.
The focus was on the areas of disability and immigration, and Peter Jordon from Maxima, spoke about the willingness of people to work – they just need an opportunity.
The person who has struggled to come to Australia, or the person who has been passed over because people have been unable to separate their abilities from a disability, might be able to do much, but not all of what you’re looking for in an applicant.
On the flip side, they will turn up every day, they will contribute everyday and will bring a spark of excitement to the workplace. They are working and are productive, making something of their lives, because they were trained by an employer willing to look outside the box.

A full house

This collates with what I hear – business owners have told me that you don’t want someone who has all the certificates under the sun, just someone with the right attitude.
Attitude is everything – we can train them on the rest.
Well, now’s the time to put your money where your mouth is!
The other comment that stuck with me was that people are often quick to discount themselves out of applying for a position. Applying for a job can be daunting for anybody, so it might be time to look at our processes and selection methods to encourage a wider, more diverse applicant pool.
A quote that’s often attributed to Einstein is “everybody is a genius – but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s entire life believing it is stupid.”

Thanks to Nathan from TrippleM for our business card draw

Diversity in any organisation is essential, and not from a government tick a box type of way, but in the benefits from a richness in workplace culture, a depth and breadth of ideas that come from a variety of views, experiences, and challenges.
Diversity should be embraced in the workplace as a way of ensuring our businesses continue to grow and prosper.
So, the next time you’re writing out a new vacancy to put on seek, take a moment to think about how you might tweak your processes, and open yourself to a more diverse world of applicants.


For information about sponsoring a person to be employed for a specific role, please access this link: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/employing-and-sponsoring-someone/learn-about-employing-migrants

Please note that sponsoring a person for employment is quite different from employing a migrant.

The person who assists clients of Bundaberg Neighbourhood Centre will provide free advice to clients regarding their visa concerns/questions. All advice is free. When someone wants to apply for a visa, the responsibility of payment of fees rests with them (and the employer if they are sponsoring someone).

Brian who is a Registered Migration Agent will be providing an information session on Employer Sponsorship Visas – Temporary Skills Shortage Visa -subclass 482 on Friday 25 August. This would be a great opportunity to learn more about sponsoring migrants.




Thanks to our speakers –

Kevin Rooney
NDIS Team Leader
E: [email protected]

Victoria Hansen
Industry Workforce Advisor
E: [email protected]

Sue Hansen
Multicultural Youth Engagement Officer
Project Officer (DFV / Sexual Assault / Sexual Abuse) – Multicultural
Multicultural Program Co-ordinator – CAMS (Acting)
E: [email protected]

Lifeblood Drive

Lifeblood Drive

Politicians like to say that Small Business is the lifeblood of the community, so this Small Business Month, lets prove it by donating to Lifeblood this May.

We are encouraging all businesses, big and small, to roll up their sleeves and donate vital blood or plasma at least once this month.

Grab your staff, their families, your friends, and anybody else you can think of and donate this month.  Even if you haven’t been in a while, or haven’t been before, now is a great time to get back or get into Lifeblood and help them with the amazing work they are doing, saving lives each and every day.

When you go in, let the friendly staff know your part of the Chambers blood drive and they will put your donation against our combined tally.

Lets get giving this Small Business Month!!



Queensland Small Business Month kicks off with $2.5 million business boost

• The Queensland Government’s flagship small business event in May, Queensland Small Business Month 2023 has been launched with the opening of the $2.5 million Business Growth Fund offering grants of up to $75,000.

• Queensland Small Business Month (from May 1 to 31) has a “love your local” theme and highlights the importance of the 473,000 small businesses that account for 97 per cent of all businesses in Queensland.

• More than 80 business support events are planned throughout May across Queensland to mark the sector’s vital contribution to our economy, to our communities and to our daily lives.
Queensland small businesses contribute around $119 billion to the State’s economy annually.

Queensland Small Business Month will see events held from the Northern Peninsula Area to the Southern Gold Coast and include “Do it in Douglas” in Port Douglas; ‘Toes in the Grass’ in Moreton Bay; “Custard Apple Muster Day” in Bundaberg; and “Speed dating for employers and employees” in Mount Tamborine.

In support of small business and recognition of the month, the $2.5 million Business Growth Fund grant program has opened. Small businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to $75,000 to help eligible businesses kick start their next growth opportunity and boost their productivity and confidence to scale up.

This year’s Small Business Month events continue to tackle the big and important issues for small business owners across the state like cyber security, talent retention, growth and financial literacy.

The events will help them connect with local resources and networks, which can make all the difference when it comes to finding support and growing a business.

In addition to the face-to-face events, this year QSBMonline is providing easy access to online sessions. Small business owners can learn about topics such as social media and digital marketing, workforce planning and management, and innovation to grow a business.

To register for or list an event, go to www.business.qld.gov.au/qsbm

“Our amazing Queensland small business are the heart and soul of our communities, from the cities and towns to our isolated rural areas and I urge Queenslanders to show some love to your hard working local.” said Small Business Minister Di Farmer.

“We can’t survive without small businesses and they can’t survive without us.  I urge Queenslanders to get out in their community and back your small business by shopping local, sharing on social media what is special about your favourite local business, writing a review and telling your friends.”

“I also encourage small business owners and operators to register for one of the many events across the state where they can share ideas and expand their networks.

The minister was also extremely pleased to announce more government support for small businesses with the opening of the $2.5 million Business Growth Fund, where small businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to $75,000 to help eligible businesses seize their next growth opportunity and boost their productivity and confidence to scale up.

Business Growth Fund details
The Business Growth Fund grants program targets high-growth businesses who can accelerate growth, drive Queensland’s economy, and employ more Queenslanders.  Grants between $50,000 and $75,000 are available for small to medium-sized businesses in this $2.5 million round of the Business Growth Fund.
The program provides funding for high-growth businesses to buy specialised equipment, enabling them to unlock growth potential, increase production, expand their workforce, and maximise economic returns to move them into the next stage of growth.
Expressions of interest can be submitted from Monday 8 May 2023 and will close at 5pm on Friday 2 June 2023.
Short-listed applicants will then be asked to provide a full application.
For more information and guidelines for the latest round of the Business Growth Fund, please go to www.business.qld.gov.au/growthfund

Upskilling employees

Upskilling employees

One thing we hear from business is the number of vacancies available and the lack of applicants for those vacancies. “People just don’t want to work,” is a familiar cry from many a HR Manager or small business owner. While this might be true for some vacancies, a search on Seek reveals that many of the 500 advertised local positions require qualifications and experience. Hardly something someone who has been unemployed for 3 years of more might be able to apply for.
Anglicare Australia recently released report “Creating Jobs, Creating Opportunities” found that many Australians are being left behind, unable to compete in a job market that is calling for skills and experience across the board. They found that only 1 in 10 of all vacancies were at an entry level position, compared to 1 in 4 fifteen years ago.
Does this mean we are losing our entry level positions or does it mean we are failing to upskill our own staff, creating entry level positions?
Actually it’s a little from coloum A and a little from coloumn B and even some from coloumn C – workforce casualisation, flexibility and inclusivity.
When you actually look at the issue, we see two distinct issues – workforce vacancies in skilled positions and a lack of entry positions.
So what’s the solution?
Upskilling your existing employees to fill your vacancy.
Now it’s not a silver bullet, and it can take time to upskill someone, but we know that a company that prioritises the training and development of their employees’ skills will be able to sustain a prominent competitive advantage. Without learning and training programs in place, organisations risk losing qualified talent and lagging behind their competitors.
Upskilling employees comes at a far smaller cost to your business than hiring a replacement and by expanding the skillsets of your current employees, you will find yourself with a more diverse, agile, innovative, well-rounded workforce that can adapt quickly to change.
And the flow on benefit is that you potentially now have an entry level position that you can fill locally, and your business can continue to grow and prosper.
Upskilling employees prevents their existing skills from becoming redundant while creating a culture of continual learning with future professional development. Naturally, this will help to retain your current workforce and reduce costs associated with employee turnover.
All in all, it’s a win-win situation.