Launceston Chamber of Commerce draws on region’s expertise

1849: The Launceston Chamber of Commerce is the oldest in the country. Picture: Paul Scambler
1849: The Launceston Chamber of Commerce is the oldest in the country. Picture: Paul Scambler

Launceston is often regarded as the private enterprise centre of Tasmania – at the heart of that is the Launceston Chamber of Commerce.

The Launceston Chamber of Commerce has been an integral part of Launceston’s economic and social development since 1849, with many significant developments in the North starting with advocacy by the chamber.

But what is a Chamber of Commerce, and what is the Launceston chamber’s responsibilities?

The chamber is made up of more than 300 business members, covering a huge range of enterprises, some quite small and others very large.

Its membership also comprises not-for-profit organisations and individual members.

This means as an organisation, the chamber can draw on the expertise from every industry in Tasmania.

The Chamber is governed by a board of 12 elected members and one appointed member, all of whom are volunteers. The day-to-day operations of the Chamber are managed by a full-time executive officer, with another full-time professional staff member supporting the Executive Officer.

The chamber principally develops policy on behalf of its members and the broader business community.  It develops business-driven policy and then proactively and publicly advocates for that policy to be adopted by the appropriate level of government.

On a local level, the chamber will take the business sectors’ concerns to local government with the aim of delivering a streamlined development environment in which business can invest and grow without unnecessary impediment.

The chamber is in the unique position where it can do and say things that other organisations or businesses cannot. We call out bad policy from government or opposition and we support good initiatives.  We can advocate for change where individuals, companies or businesses would not normally be able to and lobby government departments for change. Importantly, it has access into the halls of government where we can push for major developments, structural change or for government support for projects.

A key part of doing business in Launceston is networking – making contact with other businesses and businesspeople.

To make the most of an economy the size of Launceston it is critical to make the right contacts and to maintain relationships.

That’s why we run networking events to help businesses grow their connections locally, within government and nationally.

The Chamber hosts many events during the year as diverse as a start-up forum for new business to networking events with the Tasmanian Premier.