Small business recovery on the agenda

Published Thursday, 05 September, 2019 at 06:59 PM

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

Business is about to get better in Townsville and north west Queensland thanks to a new $10 million package to support small business owners and industry to recover and drive the region’s economy.

Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman met the new Small Business Recovery Advisory Council chair Debbie Rains to discuss the work ahead of the group.

“We are working in partnership with council and industry to grow our small business community in Townsville and north west Queensland,” Ms Fentiman said.

“The advisory council brings together members from Townsville, North West Queensland and state organisations with a range of expertise on the priorities for affected communities and businesses.”

“The first meeting of the advisory council held in August will ensure the needs of local businesses are heard and that support is reaching the right people.”

The members of the Small Business Recovery Advisory Council are:

  • Chair, Small Business Recovery Advisory Council, Ms Debbie Rains
  • Cr Verena Coombe, Councillor, Townsville City Council
  • Marie-Claude Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Townsville Chamber of Commerce
  • Patricia O'Callaghan, Chief Executive Officer, Townsville Enterprise Limited
  • Mark Rushbrook, Acting General Manager, Townsville Business Development Centre
  • Peter Fry, Executive Director North Queensland, Housing Industry Association
  • Melissa Coulter, Regional Manager, Master Builders Association Queensland
  • Ross Thinee, Regional Development Officer, Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Development Zone
  • Glenys Schuntner, Chief Executive Officer, Townsville and North West Queensland, Regional Development Australia
  • Christine Richardson, Owner Priceline Pharmacy, Fairfield Central
  • Maree Adshead, Queensland Small Business Champion

The Small Business Recovery Advisory Council will meet quarterly with membership terms to last two years. Additional stakeholders can be called on to lend their guidance.

“We’ve established this council because local information and input is valuable as well provide support through the jointly funded Commonwealth-Queensland Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements Extraordinary Assistance Package,” Ms Fentiman said.

“The Small Business Recovery Advisory Council will help us tailor our programs to suit specific industries or locations, to share local successes with other regions and coordinate how this support is delivered.

“With everyone working together we will make the regional economy and individual communities and businesses stronger, better prepared and more resilient for the future.”

Council chair Debbie Rains, who owns four Travel Associates franchises in Townsville, said she is very pleased that the State Government and Minister Fentiman have allowed local representation of small business to have a strong voice on this committee.

“Locally we can engage with other small business operators and work with them to provide the best programs to get as many businesses back open and operating,” Ms Rains said.

“The Small Business Recovery Centre forms an integral part of this recovery and so we are encouraging any business operator still struggling to make contact.”

Economic Recovery Taskforce Chair Cr Verena Coombe said the formation of the Small Business Recovery Advisory Council is the natural next step for the recovery of businesses in Townsville.

“Our small businesses need to be the leading voice in the economic recovery of the city and this Advisory Council gives them the best chance to be heard,” Cr Coombe said.

For further information visit or call 1300 654 687.



Media Contact:          Inga Williams              0439 949 719