Northern Rivers NSW Business Chamber regional manager John Murray.
Northern Rivers NSW Business Chamber regional manager John Murray.

Aggressive approach needed to make most of upgrade

CHAMBERS of commerce along the route of the Pacific Hwy upgrade must take a lead in ensuring their communities benefit from the work.

Northern Rivers NSW Business Chamber regional manager John Murray said he was aware of chambers in the Northern Rivers already taking an aggressive approach in attracting benefits to their towns.

"I know of a couple of towns which have been very proactive in making sure the food, beverage accommodation spin-offs from the highway construction are maximised in their communities," Mr Murray said.

"Other chambers need to take that lead for their communities."

He said companies looking to win contracts for work on the highway should be members of a chamber of commerce.

"If your company is looking to win a contract from one of the major contractors, you will have to be right across the work, health and safety regulations and IR regulations," Mr Murray said.

"It's important for big companies and they won't look at smaller contractors who are not up with it."

Mr Murray said chambers of commerce were the ideal places to gain the accreditation companies needed to get this sort of work.

"We're the biggest business association in NSW and members can tap into our resources for advice on workforce management and HR management so they can tick the boxes when they come up for a contract."

Bypass management

COMMUNITIES fearing their economies will suffer when the highway passes them by can take comfort, Mr Murray said.

"There's always short term pain, but in the end it always works out."

He said moving the highway away from town forced communities to take a good look at themselves.

"They find their identities in the process and then can stamp it on their town. "Then they find benefits they had not seen before."