Innisfail Chamber of Commerce
Innisfail Chamber of Commerce

Mayor’s Column – January 2018

To kick off 2018 Council has secured another round of funding valued at $3.69M from Works for Queensland for local infrastructure projects. This state government initiative is stimulating the region and creating new jobs.

I am delighted to welcome 10 new staff members to the Council who have been employed under our traineeship and apprenticeship programs. These young achievers were selected to join different Council departments and we are proud to be providing more career opportunities for talented school leavers and university graduates in our area.

Recently my fellow Councillors, the Executive Management Team and myself had the pleasure of visiting Northern Iron and Brass Foundry, who have been manufacturing in Wangan since 1932 and employ 90 staff. We were impressed with the operation and the company’s commitment to our region. In fact, some cast pipe fittings used in our new water infrastructure projects were supplied by NIBF and we are proud to support this local industry.

Our new water strategy to improve water quality across the region is being rolled out. The objective of the plan is to guarantee drinking water meets the highest quality standards and protects public health. Council completed the new 3.3ML Nyleta Reservoir and South Liverpool Creek intake in November 2017. The new mechanical screen filters will further reduce levels of sand and silt material from the water source and further improve water quality distributed into the network. Improvements have also been made that will impact the Tully, Cardwell and Innisfail Schemes.

John Kremastos


Presidents Report – January 2018

2018 poses new challenges and opportunities for the Innisfail District Chamber of Commerce Industry and Tourism, which will see us once again unite in our drive to improve the business outlook of this great town. The Management Committee have already met for January for the purpose of planning the year ahead. Some of the major events planned for 2018 are a Mid-Year Raffle offering a Travel Voucher as the winning prize, a Gala Dinner in June to celebrate our 2018 Business Awards, and a Shopping Enhancement Raffle as a lead up to Christmas 2018. Stay tunes for upcoming announcements

 Just prior to Christmas 2017, we applied for a funding grant to introduce our Smart Towns Project. This funding was applied through the latest round of the Building Better Regions Fund. The Smart Towns Project will be professionally managed, and will involve a series of workshops and open sessions with our business and general community, looking at ways in which we can improve the outlook of our businesses, develop strategies for sustainability, and investigate ways in which we all can change the face of this great town for our next generation.

We need to ensure that we all employing best practices in the way to plan, operate and grow our various businesses be it local shop fronts, larger commercial operations, or the many micro-businesses that exist in the Innisfail region. With the growing use of online shopping, we need to open up the opportunities that are abundant in this environment and ensure we have the resources to start, develop and grow. Resources like high speed internet, up to date regional information, access to government bodies that can aid in the development of start-up business and the like.

The 2031 TNQ Economic Development Plan outlines 4 key areas for a sustainable and thriving regional economy. They are Robust and resilient industries • Thriving businesses • Community confidence, connectedness and capacity • Infrastructure which supports economic growth

Our 2018 Smart Towns Project will start us on the journey to ensure we can meet the challenges that the region will deliver, and at the same time, we will be working with our younger generations in our schools, so they get to understand the future plans for this region and the part that they will play in it meeting its objectives.

Recently the CCRC released a Draft Plan for the revitalization of the Innisfail CBD, Anzac Park and the Waterfront Prescient. The IDCCIT encourages all members and the general community to get onboard, have your say, and together we can plan our future improvements for the benefit of all.

Ron Donges


Cassowary Coast Regional Council – MEDIA RELEASE

From Biochemistry in Bordeaux to Backpackers in Innisfail

Environmental Health Officer Nicole Smitran has come a long way since she left Innisfail seven years ago to expand her horizons and now she has come full circle. After completing her Masters Degree at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology she spent seven months working at a research institute in Bordeaux, France.

 “I love to travel so it was an absolutely amazing experience and so much fun. It’s a fascinating part of the world and of course the food and wine are incredible. I originally studied microbiology so I have been working as a microbiologist for the last few years. Before I went to France I did an 18 month stint in Darwin after I finished my first degree,” Smitran said.

Further education remains a priority as she completes her Environmental Health Diploma remotely through Flinders University while settling into her new part-time role at Council. 

“Once I have completed my studies I will be fully qualified and working full time at the Council from July. My degrees integrate quite well together and I really wanted to utilise the knowledge and experience I had already gained,” she added.

She is keen to start the New Year with several work projects including one that will involve assessing all the shared accommodation facilities across the Cassowary Coast region.

“My team will be doing inspections and approvals, helping business attain their licenses and making sure they meet the standards. These will include all the Guesthouses and Backpacker Hostels. There is definitely room for improvement and we are helping all operators to achieve a higher standard.”

In addition, her role will entail doing all the everyday tasks an Environmental Health Officer does including carrying out inspections, handling complaints and issuing food licenses.

But the real bonus for this vibrant 25 year old is being back home again in her beloved tropics where her parents and friends live.

“It’s so nice having everyone here and I am very happy to be home. I really love Innisfail and I really want to be here. I am just loving going to the beach again, relaxing and hanging out with friends.”

“It is very satisfying to see well educated young people like Nicole returning to the Cassowary Coast to further pursue their careers. We are delighted she has chosen to join us at the Council and we look forward to her future contributions,” said Mayor John Kremastos.

For all media enquiries, interview requests and high res images please contact Lulu Roseman, Cassowary Coast Regional Council on 07 4030 2294, 0417 721 754 or

Cassowary Coast Regional Council – MEDIA RELEASE

23rd January 2018

Volunteer Unveils Our Colourful Criminal Past in ‘Era Of Crime’ Exhibition

Cardwell resident, Matthew Jackson’s passion for local history has led to the creation of a unique exhibition in Cardwell called the ‘Era of Crime’ that reveals the activities of the organised crime gangs of the 1920s and 1930s.

Jackson, who volunteers at the Visitor Information and Heritage Centre at Cardwell, developed the display in conjunction with Thea Ormonde, the Cardwell Visitor Information Museum Coordinator.

“In 2015 we created our first exhibition about the Italian gangster history and the response from people was fantastic and they wanted to know more. So during a quiet period last October Thea came up with the idea that we should expand it and I thought, “why not?” Jackson said.

“I started researching the history of the Italian gangs and trawled website and news archives.

Clive Small’s book Evil Life revealed that the birth of the Calabrian mafia was in North Queensland,” he added.

Jackson said that, “many of the victims affected by these criminal gangs are quite old now but since this exhibition was launched many people have come forward to share their stories about their grandparents and how they had to be armed with a rifle to protect themselves.”

“In the 1930s Australia’s white policy didn’t acknowledge Italians as Caucasian so they were exempt from voting or obtaining citizenship. The English settlers resented the Italian immigrants because they made a success of themselves and therefore treated them very badly. This caused the Italians to become rebellious.

“During the late 1930s the local people started fighting back and one of our visitors shared a story that his grandfather shot one of the gangsters in self-defence. It’s all quite chilling.”

The exhibition is currently on display at the Cardwell Visitor Information and Heritage Centre until 26 January before being loaned to the Townsville Libraries from 5 February to 23 March 2018.

The display can be viewed at the Cassowary Coast Libraries on the following dates:  Cardwell – 2 April to 25 April; Tully – 30 April  to 30 May;  Wongaling Beach – 4 June to 27 June; and Innisfail – 2 July  to 31 July 2018.

For all media enquiries, interview requests and high res images please contact Lulu Roseman, Cassowary Coast Regional Council on 07 4030 2294, 0417 721 754 or


What is the Innisfail Smart Town Project?

The proposal is for a series of integrated activities including:

  • Investigations into the current state of community and commerce in Innisfail
  • Studies of ‘turn-around’ towns that have reinvented themselves and built new small/micro business economies
  • Facilitated workshops for the community and business owners / staff themed ‘your town needs you’ and incorporating presentations on smart town ideas and tools suitable for Innisfail
  • Targeted training activities focused on improving customer service, micro economy skills eg people wanting to earn money from home or at markets, increasing volunteering levels and also how to learn and use smart thinking practices in real life
  • Use of a dedicated facility as a community incubator/hub during the course of the project.

The aim of the Innisfail Smart Town Project is to reach consensus on common goals and agreed steps forward and develop a smart town blueprint. This can be a living document for the whole community to utilise and to help future generations with tools for self-sufficient and smart thinking.

Why do we need to become a smart town?

The Cassowary Coast is critically reliant on Innisfail’s success as an economic centre. However, like many other towns in regional Australia, Innisfail is facing the challenge to stay open for business while larger centres grow in size, drawing away retail spending and tertiary educated children to work.

Innisfail is a town centre that is clearly at the teetering point and as such is the ideal candidate for government support to trial smart thinking techniques from around the world at a regional level. The challenge is to not just to save our town but to empower the Cassowary Coast’s future as a stand-alone community and region.

Governments at all levels are struggling to deliver solutions for regional Australia. If towns like Innisfail are to survive and stay technologically connected, this means communities stepping up with ideas born out of local realities and facilitating forward momentum in partnership with government.

Smart towns are not just about high-tech. They are also about the people who live in and around them and the businesses that employ and support them. Your support of this funding application will be greatly appreciated. We hope that you also include a commitment to participate in the program of activities.

Let’s make Innisfail great again!

President’s Christmas Message

Dear Members,

Well what a year we have seen in our IDCCIT. There has been changes as you are well aware and there has been many tasks completed that may not have been communicated. Things that “just happen” behind the scenes.

Nevertheless, it has been a year of change for the better, and we as a team and business community are better off for what has been achieved.

We now have a home, financial and physical assets, a solid and diverse membership base, admin manager, and we have listened to some great speakers on interesting and appropriate topics, and we have just completed our very successful SER.

More importantly, you as members have received open communications through our Facebook, Email and Webpages, and have been exposed to Print Media and Radio time. This has been planned in a constant and consistent manner which was one of our change objectives for 2017.
2018 will see further improvement in our communications, our advertising capabilities, and our business improvement strategies. We will also be working with, and aiding in, developing a community group with the CCRC to bolster the drive to improve our “Community Spirit” within our regional communities and groups, within the Cassowary Coast region. This will flow onto setting up a yearly planner for all events within our region, and this will include the IDCCIT events. All this is so we can affectively apply for funding that will aid us in providing a higher level of event output, and greater outcomes for our respective community groups.

All the changes that have occurred to date have certainly raised the level of positivity within the Innisfail region, and we now see and hear of improved business conditions, especially in the past few months. We have a long way to go, but by working together, showing tolerance and acceptance, we can and will change the face of this region for the betterment of our members, your families and the wider community.

I take this time to thank my management committee for their continued support with our Chamber vision, my Admin Manager for her diligence and persistence in ensuring matters are dealt with, and to you the members for your ideas, meeting attendance and positive support of your Chamber.

On behalf of the IDCCIT, I extend Christmas greetings to you all and wish you and your families a safe and enjoyable period of relaxation and renewal.

See you all in 2018
Ron Donges
President – IDCCIT

MEDIA RELEASE – Shop Local and Win

Shopping Enhancement Raffle

The Innisfail District Chamber of Commerce Industry and Tourism has been promoting a local shopping project called the Shopping Enhancement Raffle (SER). The main prize is a white Holden Barina Spark.

Recently our SER prize car that had been displayed in Cancutter Court was damaged by an intruder who scaled the security fencing and ran across the car causing some minor damage. The whole incident was caught on CCTV and after investigations; the police have now caught the offender. Charges have been laid against this individual.

We did not initially communicate the incident due to ongoing police investigations, but I want to now inform you all in our community, that we are back on track with the Car, and it will be ready for the draw evening on Friday 1st December.

Please encourage as many of your family and friends to come into town on this evening and be a part of a great event with the lighting of the Christmas tree, and the draw of all the Chamber prizes.

Repairs for the prize car have been organised through Perry Auto’s Innisfail to ensure quality work was received. The car will be presented at the draw in a new condition.
See you all on the 1 December 2017 at the draw.


President’s Post – September 2017

August was a busy month with our AHM and general dinner meetings conducted. At our dinner meeting we had informative presentation by Shane Charles from TSBE group, who was introduced by Mayor Kremastos. Shane gave us an overview of how and why their group were established, their drivers for change, and their current situation and ongoing projects.

Our AGM that followed, produced a new dynamic team with a diverse set of skills and views. This will enable us to provide the best opportunities for growth for our members. We will only achieve our vision for growth, if we all work together with a common goal, regardless of our individual views and opinions.

For both the above meetings we had solid attendances with the new executive CCRC team visiting, and they were all introduced to the meeting by our Mayor John Kremastos.

I attended various meetings over the past 4 weeks, ASIM board meeting, 2 CSIRO Mosquito Eradication program updates, Community Groups Meeting and a meeting with David Bokeyar from Australian Regional Management (owners of the Central Market Innisfail). We will have a presentation from this group in coming months.

Administrative improvements continue with Business and Car Bumper Stickers made for our members, along with the introduction of Loyalty Cards, and there has also been solid membership growth. We are now over 80 financial members for 2018 Financial Year, and this is still growing, thanks to the efforts of Moira.

The SER is now in full swing with all participating business receiving their tickets, ticket boxes and informative posters for their business windows / advertising. We will once again start the next round of radio advertising, and there has been an update in the recent Advocate. My thanks to Renee and Lisa for their hard work and dedication to this project. The business case for the project scope was aimed at 65 business, and we achieved 68, so I believe.

Now the challenge is up to us all to openly promote this program to all the community and businesses, to keep it in the forefront of everyone’s minds as we head up to Christmas. It will only be a success if we make it.

The team for 2018 now has some goals that we need to aspire to and these will be discussed during new business. The main one being to investigate and establish an income stream within 2 years.

The Team are now going through what actions are required to continue the growth of the chamber and will investigate various methods of income and new events for our members.

As always, we welcome any suggestions from our members as this is your Chamber affecting outcomes for you.

Ron Donges


September Meeting

Click here to download an invitation to September’s Meeting of the Innisfail District Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry.


Hi members and visitors,

          Nearly budget year end already, and many of us are trying to achieve a strong finish. The Chamber has had a busy time of late, with a successful meeting in May with the Sunstruck Solar Presentation, and getting the finishing touches completed on our new Office/Meeting Room facility. This facility is in the CANEGROWERS building Innisfail in Rankin street, with our entrance off Grace street next to APM Employment. We are having our Grand Opening this Friday the 23rd June, and all members and their guests are welcome.

This new facility will also be available to our members and interested parties for conducting Training Sessions, Business Forums, and General Meetings.

We also heard in early June of the World Rafting Championships to be held in Tully in 2019. This was a great achievement in winning this bid, and it will have a huge flow-on effect to all the business community within our Cassowary Region, and I strongly encourage all businesses to keep an open mind as to how they may get involved.

We have also commenced organising our exciting 2017 Shopping Enhancement Raffle (SER) which is designed to provide an increase to the shopping throughput within our Innisfail Business community. We have engaged the professional services of Creative Events Innisfail and both Renee and Lisa will bring a dynamic approach to this event. Businesses and Advertisers can expect a visit from these two ladies in due course. We will have a CAR as the major prize, which will be available for viewing in the main street in coming months. Stayed tuned for this exciting event, as it will run up to the Christmas period.

The Chamber has recently advertised and interviewed for an Administration Officer- fulltime position, and we will be making an announcement of the successful applicant shortly. This position will enable the Chamber to offer a professional level of service to our membership and to the wider community.   

Our 2014 Chamber Business Plan was recently reviewed with Peter Faulkner from CONUS, and Pete will be making some changes and recommendations considering the changing times, and for the tasks that have been completed. It is planned for a presentation of the updated Business Plan at our July General Dinner Meeting on the 18th July.  

There is much happening within our region and many wonderful things yet to come. So, let’s stay positive and proactive towards what is arguably the greatest regional area in Qld.



Ron Donges


How we are helping Business in Innisfail:

Business Networking

  • Great outlet for new business to interact and learn from established businesses
  • Learn about the unique opportunities and assets of our region
  • Build positive and proactive relationships with others
  • Establish relationships with the Council and other Government departments
  • Networking in a relaxed social environment
  • One-on-one support from the Business Community

Online Promotions

  • Have your business promoted free on our website
  • Share your good news stories and pictures
  • Get the latest promotions, programs, events, and news from the greater business communities
  • Direct connection with other Regional Chambers and the Qld Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Online Promotions

  • Have your business promoted free on our website
  • Share your good news stories and pictures
  • Get the latest promotions, programs, events, and news from the greater business communities
  • Direct connection with other Regional Chambers and the Qld Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Speaking Opportunities

  • Opportunity monthly to openly promote your business
  • Highlight your special event
  • Showcase new products or services
  • Forum for raising new ideas and addressing local concerns
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