LOCAL BUSINESS: Damien Martoo with the team at Astill's electrical services. (Picture: Contributed)
LOCAL BUSINESS: Damien Martoo with the team at Astill's electrical services. (Picture: Contributed)

KCCI president urges region to stick together

WHETHER it’s digitalising services, offering home deliveries or using this downtime as an opportunity to improve, South Burnett businesses are not letting the coronavirus stop them.

In tough times like these, where a number of businesses have been forced to shut or to run at a lower capacity, the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce president Damien Martoo said communication is key.

“It’s a really tough time for businesses at the moment, I went for a walk around the CBD yesterday and I would say about 50 per cent of businesses are closed and the ones that are open are running at a much lower capacity,” Mr Martoo said.

“The Chamber of Commerce’s role in this is to deliver crucial information we receive from the industry body to help inform local businesses to assist in decision making.

“Over the next couple of weeks we will be reaching out to all of our members and encourage them to communicate and understand they are not alone in this.”

As a result of the strict social distancing rules, businesses are being forced to think outside the box and come up with new ways to operate.

Mr Martoo said he was seeing so many positives from local businesses.

“We are really starting to see businesses adapting, taking opportunities and going online to deliver services,” Mr Martoo said.

“It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day mundane tasks and when you are forced to do something we start seeing innovation.

“Even in times like this we still see businesses expand and I believe a number of businesses will use this time wisely and come out ready to hit the ground running when this is all over.”

Thanks to funding made available by the Australian Government, local businesses will be able to continue to retain staff who, Mr Martoo said, were like family to a lot of small businesses.

“The funding for local businesses from the government has been an absolute game-changer for us,” Mr Martoo said.

“It means business owners can retain staff and a lot of the time that is staff they have spent years and years training.

“Being able to keep these people helps maintain service and quality of craftsmanship.

“Getting the right staff can takes years and they become family at small businesses so to have to let them go can be very upsetting.”

Mr Martoo said the full impacts the coronavirus will have on the region as a whole is yet to be known, however he said communication is the best way forward for local businesses.