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The ruthless fight for rural town survival

The ruthless fight for rural town survival

My absence for 10 days from this blog has been pertinent to where Marketing Eye is heading into the future. Last year we committed to giving to charity, namely through using our expertise, money and resources to build The World Incubator in Charters Towers.

I've made a few trips up North to speak with locals, potential startups for the incubator, Politicans and alike. I grew up in Townsville and Charters Towers, so this project is especially important to me.

It's been an interesting visit to say the least.

The realisation that everything isn't as it should be is startling. It is also very confronting. People are literally fighting for their survival. 

Being sacked by a client for the right reasons brings joy to my heart

For 10 years Marketing Eye held the contract for marketing services for Northern Stevedoring Services or NSS as it is now branded. We branded the company, and were their complete outsourced marketing department for that entire time. About 12 months ago, the new manager who took over the reigns gave me a call. She said, "the work you guys do is great, and we really enjoy working with our marketing manager, but we have to change our working relationship because in Townsville and surrounding areas, there is a huge unemployment problem and we need to support local businesses."

I was gutted on one hand. 10 years is a long time and over that period of time, we got to know everyone. We were all friends. But on the other hand it made me take notice. Townsville is a sinking ship. Unemployment had skyrocketed and there is very little that was being done about it. You see, our Canberra politicans don't understand what it is like to live up in North Queensland, and how hard it is right now. And in some ways they seem to not care.

I have no time for socialites, particularly on the public purse

I am going to take a personal attack at Julie Bishop. I don't know her personally, but I do know that whatever party I go to in Melbourne or social event, opening, art gallery exhibition, dinner with influential people - she is there. Hell, she is even partying with celebrities in New York, no doubt courtesy of those private parties that she attends at the homes of people who live in Toorak. I even opened Vogue yesterday to see that yet again, she was photographed at yet another party. Is her job to be a "celebrity" or "socialite" or is it that we pay our tax payers money to see her make a difference? Isn't her electorate Perth, not Melbourne, yet she seems to spend a lot of time at the Polo and alike in Melbourne. Rather then spend that time socialising and not benefitting our country, knowing that one day you will receive a hefty government funded retirement pension - why not spend more time doing your job, and give a few of the parties and races a miss. I certainly don't want to be paying tax to see someone who always has a glass of champagne in their hands while I am working my ass off to make a difference to the lives of people who are struggling.

No-one wants to see a paid politican go to the opening of an envelope on their tax payer funded money. Instead of flying around to attend the next "social" event, why not put that budget back into creating jobs in North Queensland and any other place that has high unemployment rates.

Bob Katter has a voice, and at least he gives it a real go to help those in rural Queensland

Then you see people like the Hon Bob Katter, MP, and I give him the utmost respect by giving him the title for the job he does. You may think that he is a bit unusual, but whatever he is doing, he is honorable and doing it for his electorate. He is committed to helping his electorate think differently and pay some respect to the people on the land. There is a reason why he keeps getting voted in even though the media are hellbent on pushing him out. I have spoken to him a number of times about The World Incubator and you know what, immediately, he makes calls to people so actions can be made. He cares that Charters Towers is at around 15% unemployment right now.

As I have said, I have busted my ass on this project. I work at least 30 hours a week on getting it off the ground and the constant ignorance from Canberra and in particularly for the poorly performing Queensland Government, who might I add, are "too busy" according to their people to hear about a project that will create jobs.

I am no saint, and I am absolutely not looking for recognition but this is the first time in my life that I am tired of Politicans who are doing nothing about a real problem. I don't care if there are repercussions for talking publicly about this, because change is needed.

Concreters as FIFO workers taking jobs for local - really?

When a big public works contract comes up in the North, it should be compulsory that people employed in that actual town get the jobs first over and above FIFO workers. I sat on the plane fuming the other day as a concreter was talking about how he FIFO of North Queensland for a big capital works job funded by Government. Do you know how many Townsville and Charters Towers concreters that are humilated because they are on the dole, unable to find work? How could a job like this be justified as FIFO position? Tenders need to change and compulsory employment of people in the actual town that the work is done in is necessary. People need jobs and they need to be able to pay their mortgages, put food on the table and pay for their kids school books. Does anyone in Canberra realise just how humiliating it is for some of these people who really want to work?

I also note that QNI went through with putting off a lot of people. The community has rallied behind those people and they were given free tickets to the Cowboys and a host of other things. They knew for a year that this was happening but it doesn't make it any easier. But what I want to note here is that there are thousands of others who have been put off in small business in the past few years, and weren't making a huge living, that are never recognised. No free Cowboys tickets for them I am afraid - and it hurts them. They weren't on big money and it's funny how much the Cowboys mean to everyone in the region.

If change is not made, people will not only lose their livelihood, but ghost towns will be the norm and suicide rates will keep increasing

Change is needed. If I have my way, The World Incubator, a not-for-profit, will be rolled out in every rural town with high unemployment. We need to create jobs, and educate the young and old to think differently. Take their ideas and talents to the world. You don't have to be the smartest kid at school to be an entrepreneur selling globally. Think big. Dare to dream. And do what I do; work hard.

As for the Politicans in Canberra, take notice. Surely Hon Bob Katter, MP, cannot be the only person who cares enough about rural Australia. Stop giving money to the obvious and take a deep look at what some people are trying to do to make a difference.

We have five (5) businesses in The World Incubator, that each will employ people before the year ends. They need your support and the innovation funds that are being set up need to take action now - not later.

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