Wynnum chamber of commerce set to close after 64 years

Justin Tyne, president of CCIQ Brisbane Bayside, previously known as the Wynnum & Districts Chamber of Commerce, and Silver Sponsor of WynnumCentral, announced a few days ago its intention to close the doors after 64 years of operation.

In a letter to members and friends of the chamber (reproduced in full below), Mr Tyne refers to the reasons behind the decision of the board to recommend closure. These relate to two issues 1) a tax debt due mainly to a PAYG tax liability related to termination payments for previous staff members, but also 2) to reducing membership and sponsorship leading to an ongoing revenue shortfall.

The chamber is holding an Extraordinary General Meeting on Tuesday 15th March where a special resolution will be proposed by the board to wind up the chamber.

In his closing comments Mr Tyne says “Perhaps this is the new paradigm of business. A paradigm which one of the oldest organisations in Wynnum wasn’t young and trendy enough for.”

WynnumCentral will be at the meeting on 15th March and we will update you on the outcome.

Wynnum Chamber archive images_member list 1982 Wynnum Chamber archive images Wynnum Chamber archive images_Deirdre Thomson Wynnum Chamber archive images_Heidis Herbals

Images (from top)
List of Chamber members published in Wynnum Herald in 1982 (184 listed)
Peter Hellen from DBS Menswear
Deirdre and Tony Thomson
Heidi Pamminger from Heidi’s Herbals

Images above courtesy of CCIQ Brisbane Bayside archives

Justin Tyne’s full letter to members

Dear Members of Wynnum & Districts Chamber of Commerce Inc, trading as CCIQ Brisbane Bayside

Writing this to our Members reminds me what it’s like to write and deliver a eulogy.

I’m sure some of you have done this before, and it is something that you don’t want to perfect. In essence, you summarise years and years of a life and its stories and try to make it an interesting 20 minute memory of a loved one.

You tread the careful line of not offending anyone alive, or speaking ill of the deceased, while trying to avoid boring people. You don’t want to make it too emotional; the aim isn’t for tears and sobbing, nor raucous laughter.

But here I find myself having to do something similar not for a person, but for an organisation that I know only in its current format. Not the history and stories behind its long standing success.

In February 2015, the Presidency of the Wynnum District Chamber of Commerce Inc (WDCC) was bestowed on me.

It was also the “marriage” between Chamber of Commerce and Industry QLD, CCIQ and WDCC to form CCIQ Brisbane Bayside. It brought with it renewed hope that the new offerings and name, would mean that the WDCC was more relevant and “cool” again. Well, as cool as a 64 year old going on 65 can be.

Born in 1951 as the Wynnum Manly Chamber of Commerce, the organisation has been through many changes; names included over the years and overcome many obstacles.

Fast forward to January 2016, a routine financial health check revealed that there were more serious financial issues than expected, and the prognosis was terminal. As you would do for any loved one with a poor diagnosis, we sought 2nd and 3rd opinions.  Both confirmed the original thoughts.

In short the issues are these:

• Outstanding liabilities total between $35-$37,000. This is a primarily a debt to the ATO, and the final amount owing is being finalised and confirmed. Termination payments to previous staff have created a very large PAYG taxation liability from FY 2014/15.

• Current assets total around $25,000 including cash and assets such as office equipment, furniture etc.

• We currently owe at least $10,000 more than we have in assets.This makes the organisation technically insolvent.

• Monthly income to the organisation is around $2,000. Monthly costs are closer to $5,000. That is a shortfall of at least $3,000 per month.

• We have tried to reduce this by exiting our lease arrangement, and terminating the employment of all staff.  Both of these come into full effect on March 8 2016.

• If we keep trading, our loss for the remainder of the financial year is estimated at $70,000.

• Since our previous Treasurer resigned and did not stand again at the Annual General Meeting in October, we have not been able to secure a Treasurer.

• Renewing members are down 50% year on year.

Without staff and an office, the costs would reduce significantly, to around $350 per month. However the current format of the Chamber would not be as you know it. No Melinda or other staff.  No office and a Chamber relying on Members and the Board to cover all the administration, functions, operations and day to day tasks. History has shown that this option hasn’t been viable on a long term basis. We are all small business operators/owners/entrepreneurs and time is a valuable non-renewable commodity.

Given this information and the opinions from professionals, the Board has voted to voluntarily wind up the chamber.  Under our constitution and Department of Fair Trading guidelines for Incorporated Entities, we must give our members a notice period of 14 days for their consideration under a Special Resolution.

The Special Resolution proposed by the Board is to:

• Wind up the Chamber, with immediate effect.  Members are asked to follow the Board’s motion and the advice of independent advisers and vote in favour of winding up the Chamber.
• If the Special Resolution is not passed, a further resolution will be required to appoint an interim Board of Directors, as the current Board will be resigning on the evening of the meeting.

To make this happen, 75% of members either in attendance or by way of Proxy are required to attend the General Meeting, Tuesday 15th March @ Wynnum Manly Leagues Club, 92 Wondall Road, Manly West to vote in favour of the Special Resolution to have it accepted by the Members.

At this meeting, the current Board will be available to answer questions relating to this matter.

Don’t forget, WDCC is a not for profit organisation. Board members are not paid or remunerated in any way. We volunteer our time to the great community organisation the Chamber is.  We have strived to meet the business needs of our area and adapt to the changing business wants and needs.

Wynnum has many organisations that are competing in this space that was once the domain of the Chamber. Ironically all the small groups are competing for the same goal, and there are similar views that many of these smaller groups could combine to make a single voice.

What has happened is that WDCC has lost its ability to remain relevant in a socially techno age where business information is at everyone’s finger tips, while trying to help other businesses manage their futures. Sadly, membership renewals have halved over the last few years, and new Members and Sponsors have been harder to source than they were previously. Contrary to popular belief, the Chamber does not, and has not  received funding from any level of government for its daily operations.

The board urges you to vote in favour of the closure of the WDCC/ CCIQ Brisbane Bayside. Taking away the emotions of it, the numbers and logic don’t calculate for us to continue trading.

This meeting on Tuesday 15th March will supersede the previously advertised meeting, scheduled for Monday 7th March 2016. Please register your attendance here. If you’re unable to attend, please click here to download a Proxy vote.

Perhaps this is the new paradigm of business. A paradigm which one of the oldest organisations in Wynnum wasn’t young and trendy enough for.

Justin Tyne

General Meeting
Tue 15th Mar 2016 from 5.45pm for 6pm
Wynnum Manly Leagues Club, 92 Wondall Road, Manly West

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  1. I never knew that The Chamber of Commerce were paid positions. I thought it members were representatives of the Community owned business. I now just think a Chamber of Commerce is just a business that the community don’t need. Wynnum has one of the most active Councillors this country could ever have. He does all the work for the community anyway.

    1. The board members are all volunteers (and local business owners), and the Chamber has always had one or two paid part-time staff to manage the day-to-day running of the office.

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