Former lawyer and Toowoomba community leader, Shane Charles, grew up in the southwest town of Goondiwindi where, during the 1980-1990s, he saw the farming community and small businesses hit breaking point due to high interest rates and drought.
I saw regional communities dying over two decades and it had a real impact on our community prosperity,” he said.
“Kids were finding it difficult to stay on farms and businesses were closing their doors.
Mr Charles is currently developing a statewide picture of the impacts and opportunities for business related to the growth of the CSG industry. The Commission has written to a wide-ranging group of Chambers of Commerce – both where the CSG industry is active and also in neighbouring areas – seeking their input. Mr Charles is seeking Chambers’ comments or data to help the Commission understand what issues broadly associated with the growth of the CSG sector are affecting business, whether positively or negatively. This information will guide the Commission’s strategic plan for work related to business and the CSG industry.
Mr Charles is analysing the opportunities for local businesses to successfully contract for work related to the industry, and what impediments there are, with the goal of boosting the share of work undertaken by regional businesses. Essential business services like telecommunications will also come under consideration.
Under the community part of his portfolio, Mr Charles is focussing on the projects’ social impact management plans, which in some cases covers similar issues in similar areas.
The Commission is undertaking a desktop review of the plans to assess their cumulative impacts and actions as a step to evaluating their effectiveness.