KCCI vice president Jacqui Trace, president Damien Martoo, Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington, and KCCI secretary Paula Greenwood … Mrs Frecklington was the official host for the evening

March 3, 2021

The Kingaroy Chamber Of Commerce and Industry has launched a program – dubbed SMILE – in a bid to address the issue of suicide in the local workforce.

SMILE stands for “Supporting Mental Health through Information Leadership and Education”.

It was unveiled at the KCCI’s March meet’n’greet which was held on Monday night at South Burnett Care’s function room.

The get-together was hosted by local MP and former KCCI secretary Deb Frecklington and attracted about 80 businesspeople.

The story of a local employee who recently took his own life was shared from the stage by his boss as a stark reminder of what is happening too often in our region.

The employee – whom southburnett.com.au has chosen not to name – in hindsight had shown signs he had problems but “ticking the box” of referring him to an employee assistance program had not been enough.

The death left his boss and his workmates reeling.

Chamber president Damien Martoo said the problem was “real” and the Chamber was not going to let it just “slide under the table”.

“We are going to throw real resources at this; we are going to throw real money at this, and we are going to ask more people to throw money at this as well to provide training in business,” Mr Martoo said.

“Watch this space.”

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If you or someone you know needs help, call:

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The meet’n’greet also was an opportunity for the KCCI to unveil its new Strategic Development Plan which was the result of an afternoon of brainstorming late last year by Executive members.

The plan, which can be downloaded from the KCCI website (880kb PDF) identifies the five core themes for the Chamber: Regional Progression, Relationships, Connections, Network Diversity and Leadership.

However, Mr Martoo stressed it was a “living document” and would change over time.

“The Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry will show strong leadership and timely communication to the business sector,” he said.

“This is something we have to drive now and into the future. We will communicate the full facts of projects and programs within our region and we will do so honestly, without the distraction of self-importance or political bias.

“We are driven to be inclusive to all but under no circumstances will we provide special treatment to anyone.

“We are here for business. If you want to be part of this Chamber and you want to come along for the ride, you can do it but do not expect special treatment.”

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Other topics discussed at the meet’n’greet included:

  • A KTP Facade Workshop, facilitated by the KCCI, will be held on Tuesday, March 23, for business owners and commercial property owners. Guest speakers will be from Kay Apparel and Home Butcher Supplies (who will be talking about the importance of signage); Crowies Paints (retaining heritage while bringing a building into the modern era); Kingaroy Joinery (a staged approach to upgrades); a representative from Rixson Design (part of the design team behind the KTP); and Faunt and Emmett Real Estate (the value in upgrading facades of commercial properties).
  • On March 24, a South Burnett Business Breakfast will be held from 6:00am with Matt Collins at Nanango RSL Club in conjunction with the KCCI, CROW-FM and Burnett Today.
  • World’s Greatest Shave fundraising is being undertaken by Kingaroy Office Central’s Susan Robertson. Donations can be made on the World’s Greatest Shave website. She will be losing her locks on March 11 at her business in Haly Street.
  • South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto spoke about Council’s Corporate Plan which is under development, the creation of a Regional Economic Development Advisory Committee and the appointment of his predecessor, former mayor Keith Campbell as an “Ambassador” for the Kingaroy Transformation Project (see separate report).
Josh Gadischke (Proteco) with David Iliffe (ABC Southern Queensland) and Mal Borgeaud (Proteco) …. David and ABC colleague Belinda Sanders did a live broadcast from the Glendon Street Forecourt in Kingaroy the following morning

Mayor Brett Otto with Diane Weber (Busy At Work)

Karen Wall and Chrys McDuffie (Stanwell)
A happy trio from Bega (PCA) … Troy Hartshorn, Barry Heyns and Steve Magnussen
Susan Robertson (Kingaroy Office Central) will be taking part in a World’s Greatest Shave event on March 11
Cr Danita Potter and Olivia Everitt (BIEDO) … Olivia explained several grant opportunities currently open for businesses
South Burnett Regional Council CEO Mark Pitt with Owen Bevan (Stanwell)
Cameron Donohue and Cheryl Dalton (South Burnett Care) with KCCI secretary Paula Greenwood … South Burnett Care offered their facility to the KCCI for use on the night
There was almost a full squad in attendance from the SBRC … from left, Cr Kathy Duff, mayor Brett Otto, Cr Scott Henschen, Cr Danita Potter, Cr Kirstie Schumacher and CEO Mark Pitt

Ros Heit for South Burnett Division 6
Vote 1 Kathy Duff for South Burnett Mayor


Vote 1 Jane Erkens for Division 1
Vote 1 Scott Hernschen for Division 6

One Response to "KCCI Tackles Suicide With A SMILE"

  1. Congratulations to KCCI on their initiative re suicide prevention measures. This process is long overdue, sadly prompted by the suicide death of our grandson.

    We believe current measures promoted by “government bodies” fall a long, long, way short of raising awareness in the general population of the magnitude of this national problem. We also believe that our medical profession is not sufficiently trained, equipped, or financed to adequately handle this growing issue.

    Clinical depression, and other ailments leading to suicide has been around for hundreds of years, and once diagnosed, the major treatment prescribed is a choice of anti-depressant pills. Specialized treatment clinics are scarce or non-existent outside of metropolitan or capital cities.

    Even though the modern world has been forced to conduct various forms of treatment/business online, patients with mental illness/clinical depression need face-to-face treatment/counselling on an on-going basis.

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