MAIN director Mick Crowe
MAIN director Mick Crowe Pamela Frost

Don’t hope the downturn will end, take action now

YES, there is a downturn in the resources industry, but it's time to stop hoping for it to get better and instead take action.

That is one of the key messages from MAIN director Mick Crowe who was speaking ahead of a forum next week to encourage businesses to remain competitive and be innovative.

"We can't solve the coal prices and we can't solve the exchange rate," he said.

"But we also don't feel it's correct to sit and hope or not work collaboratively as a community and as a region around a lot of difficult problems.

"You don't hope the industry comes back.

"You expect that at some point, but in the meantime, you do stuff.

"Hope is what you do when you've run out of things to do."

He said Mackay needed to become a place that was recognised as being competitive with a can do attitude.

"Mackay has to be seen as a place that recognises this challenge and works together to make sure we can be competitive and help keep employment in the region."

Every business is different, but Mr Crowe is keen for businesses to look at ways to fit in with the current market.

He said this could come down to changing work practices, wages, locations, facilities, business structure and costs, and communicating with the workforce.

In Mackay, the big driver is charge-out rates. "If your rates are not competitive in the situation we have, you're going to lose work."

Mr Crowe said competition at the moment meant there was less work.

"I often describe it as 12 people around a table, and for years there were 14 meals coming out, but now there's eight. But there are still 12 people around the table, so the competition for what's out there is very tough."

Mr Crowe hopes MAIN will be able to spread the message to businesses at the forum next Thursday morning to help keep Mackay competitive, safe and to build a sustainable future.


  • Sustainable Labour Cost Reductions - Keeping Employment in Mackay briefing
  • Thursday 6.45am-9am
  • MECC
  • $50 members, $75 non members, includes breakfast
  • Visit

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