Chairs Report 2021

Port Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Chairperson’s Report – Jack Ritchie 2021

A year of remarkable innovation, adaptability, resilience and change for business and our community.

The Business community in Port Lincoln have shown their strength and character over the past year, with highs and lows as we all learn to navigate our way through changes and restrictions associated with the Global Pandemic. Businesses adapted and innovated, and we saw a phenomenal boost in intrastate touring which created a flow on effect to the entire community. Business went from how to maintain staff during restrictions, to how to recruit new staff when we moved to unprecedented demand from visitors choosing Port Lincoln and the EP. The Chamber adapted alongside business and had to cancel some events and work out ways to bring others successfully to fruition, while maintaining a consistent media and communications role responding to changes and keeping business informed of support and opportunities.

On behalf of the Chamber and in my role as Chair, I would like to thank the Chamber Executive and committee members for all their hard work and support. I would like to thank Jed Carson for standing in as treasurer after Matt Berryman had to step out of the role midway through the year. Thanks to Franziska (Fran) Huber, for her incredible support and work in the role of Secretary and Simone Bertram and Carly Valcic (who stepped down mid-year) in the communications role and I would also like to particularly thank Sharni Marie Barney who has been in the role of Vice Chairperson and also managing website and systems plus taken an active role around membership. I would also like to thank Valerie Staunton, the Council’s representative on team, who for the past two years has chaired the Christmas and New Year’s working party and brought her passion and commitment to that role. My thanks also to Anne Marie Hammond who continued a long-standing role as minutes secretary and Jed Carson as Public Officer.  I would also like to extend thanks to other committee members, Rob Watson, Andrea Broadfoot, Andrew Foster, Sue Scott and Naomi Blacker for all their participation and support throughout the year.

At the Chamber’s AGM in 2020 the following were elected to executive and committee CHAIRPERSON, Jack Ritchie, VICE CHAIRPERSON, Sharni-Marie Barney, SECRETARY, Franziska (Fran) Huber, TREASURER Matt Berryman, replaced by Jed Carson midyear MINUTE SECRETARY, Anne Marie Hammond, MARKETING/PROMOTION, Simone Bertram and Carly Valcic( stepped down mid-year) , PUBLIC OFFICER, Jed Carson, COUNCIL REP Valerie Staunton, (confirmed by PLCC),  COMMITTEE MEMBERS – Sue Scott, Andrea Broadfoot, Rob Watson, Andrew Foster and Naomi Blacker. Thanks to you all for your ongoing commitment.

Business Excellence Awards – The Chamber were forced to cancel the Business Excellence Awards for 2020 due to COVID. At the time when elements had to be locked in there was no confidence in the numbers that would be able to attend and despite a desire to celebrate the incredible tenacity of business through the awards, a lack of certainty re the financial viability of the event to proceed due to restrictions on numbers, left the Chamber with no other choice than to cancel.

The Business Excellence Awards (BEA) has built considerable over the past 4 years into a prestigious event on the EP, with great support from Business and Sponsors and record-breaking entries. The BEA has been ably brought together by a chamber working party brilliantly led by Sharni-Marie Barney.

The Chamber will be discussing options for an event this year at the first meeting of the new committee.

Christmas and New Year activities – Christmas and New Year’s activities were fortunately able to proceed with a detailed Covid management plan in place. The event in its second year build on the success of the first and received increased sponsorship and was able to feature new elements and build on the collection of Christmas displays, to enhance visitor and resident experiences within the CBD during the festive season.  Approval for the COVID Management Plan was approved 5 days prior to the Christmas Pageant and final approvals for the New Year’s Eve Fireworks were also received a short time prior. The team involved did an absolutely incredible job of pulling together a highly successful set of activities supported by City of Port Lincoln Council and our wonderful business sponsors. Port Lincoln was one of only two fireworks events in SA and one of the only locations to hold a Christmas pageant and this was made possible through an incredible group of volunteers taking on the organising plus the roles of COVID marshals and the community doing the right thing. This year major sponsorship from SA Power Networks enabled decorations to be boosted and festooning to be added to the pine trees along the foreshore, which was well received and enhanced decorations throughout the CBD supported by Bendigo Bank and SA Power Networks + Council. The JOY and HOPE signs, which were supported by incredible in-kind and sponsorship support from JP Cabinets and Lincoln Steel were embraced by the community and images of the words were seen across the world promoting Port Lincoln as a destination of choice. The words also featured on National television and in multiple media and social media publications.  The addition of LOVE in time for Valentine’s Day was another true labour of love and we are grateful for the tireless support of local businesses who gave time, product and energy to deliver hope joy and love for Port Lincoln.

I would particularly like to thank Valerie Staunton for again heading up the working party who oversaw the development and delivery of events, I would also like to thank the work of other members of the Chamber team, and all our sponsors who again offered their support and welcome our new sponsors, including Bendigo Bank, who came on board for 2020.

The Chamber were able to increase the level of sponsorship and grow the events as major attractions to retain and increase connection with business over the Christmas New Year period.

The Chamber will again be planning events for this year.

The major attractions held included: 

  • CBD Business Christmas display competition
  • Strategic high visual impact Christmas decorations & displays (Includes red Bows, refurbished annual decorations, Christmas Lights and street decorations.)
  • The addition to a major display of festooning along the pine trees along the foreshore, supported by SA Power Networks, who again also supported all the activities in 2020
  • Creation and Installation of giant words, JOY and HOPE on the foreshore supported by Lincoln Steel and JP Cabinets, with additional sponsorship from Bendigo Bank
  • An upcycled Christmas tree school/community group competition
  • A Christmas pageant held on Sunday 20th of December at 11am
  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks (Two displays – 9.30 & midnight) 
  • Creation and installation of giant word LOVE on the foreshore again supported by Lincoln Steel and JP Cabinets, with additional sponsorship from Lighthouse Family Church and Rob Watson of Doug Watson’s Menswear.

By making the CBD more attractive and active invited more custom to the CBD & overall city, increased the level of spending in Port Lincoln and delivered direct support for local business.

The Chamber secured Media partners to assist in maximising marketing coverage of events to secure best value for our sponsors and full activation of Port Lincoln during Christmas and New Year. We thank our media partners for your consistent support and coverage throughout the year.

Port Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Tourism extends our gratitude to all sponsors for your willing support that have made the Christmas and New Year season a joy for all in 2020/21.

Business SA. The Chamber has continued collaboration with the Business SA and the Regional Voice programs over the past year. The Chamber has also worked closely with Business SA and other Chambers throughout the state in response to the pandemic and the support of business. Through this forum multiple recommendations have been made to the Premier on changes to restrictions and the timing of those changes, and this has been well received by business here and throughout the state. The Chamber will continue to participate in discussions and actions to support the post COVID recovery. Business SA continues to provide good support for regional Chambers and plays a major role in representing business interests throughout the state.

Lobbying and advocacy – The Chamber continued to lobby and advocate on behalf of members and met throughout the year with State Ministers, Federal and State members, and representatives of major business ventures planned for the Port Lincoln area.

Media and promotion – The Chamber has continued to effectively engage with media and promote local business and Port Lincoln as a destination of choice. The Chamber has released multiple media releases, promoted events, provide comment on numerous local issues through the Port Lincoln Times, Spencer Gulf News @ Southern Cross Austereo, radio interviews and news comment on Eyre Peninsula Broadcasters, Magic 89FM and 5CC, and across social media.

Women in Business – The year has seen the continuation of the collaboration with Women in Business and this is seeing some great events which showcase the focus on business support for Port Lincoln and we thank the WIB team for their amazing work to support business in Port Lincoln.

Tourism – The Chamber continues to support the development and promotion of tourism for Port Lincoln and the region. The tourism industry has gone through one of its most challenging years, and found itself connecting with a new customer group through the massive increase in Intrastate Touring. Prior to 2020/21, over 90 % (900,000) people from Adelaide hadn’t been to Port Lincoln and this is rapidly changing and is visitation + repeat visitation is expected to continue to grow. The Chamber will continue to do all it can to support the sector in these challenging times.  

Thanks – Once again thanks to the Chamber executive and thank you to all people in businesses who say YES when we ask for support with the Chamber activities. Your willingness makes a huge difference to what we can achieve together.

The upcoming Year- Tonight I will be stepping down from the role of Chair after over 4 years.

I have been very honoured to hold this position and have enjoyed working with a great team, our members and the business community and incredibly proud of what the Chamber has achieved in that time and how the membership and the level of activity has also increased.

 I will stay on to provide support for the new Chair and help in a transition over the next 12 months and do what I can in project planning for the Business Excellence Awards and the Christmas New Year activities, so those roles can be passed on and delivered easily in years to come.

Thanks to all for your trust and support. The Chamber continues to play a major role in Port Lincoln and grow alongside what will hopefully be a positive recovery for business and the community post COVID. Membership continues to grow and ideally every business in Port Lincoln will become members of the Chamber, adding to the already strong and effective representation and advocacy provided.

Thanks again 🙂

Jack Ritchie



PH:   0458 274444


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