CQ businesses extend hand to jobless tradies after JMK bust
TRUE community spirit is the willingness to extend a helping hand to a fellow local down on their luck.
Rockhampton builder JM Kelly went into voluntary administration on Wednesday, leaving an estimated 230 workers without a job.
After being tied up in court action, JM Kelly said it was unable to trade any further because of a loss of business.
Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers said a creditors meeting would be held within eight days, most likely in Rockhampton.
Determined to help these workers get back on their feet, a collective of local business owners are banding together, urging others to follow their lead.
Fourth generation local businessmen Dominic Doblo, from Doblos Farmers Markets and Mark Woods, from Menswear Direct and Shop $mart, were joined by Mark Molloy, from Professionals Livingston & Molloy Real Estate, in contacting The Morning Bulletin to share how they planned to pitch in.
Chatting with Mr Wood yesterday, Mr Doblo hit upon an idea of producing a local discount card as a way to help the JM Kelly workers get back on their feet.
As someone who had been down on his luck in the past, Mr Doblo knew what it was it like struggling to get by in a small business and how every little bit of help counted.
"I know how tough it can to be out of a job and how hard it can be for workers to recover going forward, some of them won't get their entitlements, they might not get anything." Mr Doblo said.
"This is about small local businesses helping out other small local businesses.
"I've talked to Mark and hopefully we'll get another couple of people on board and we give these people whatever discount people can afford."
- David French, managing director of the Investment Collective, would like to extend support to the staff of JM Kelly with the offer of free financial counselling, debt management advice and practical strategies for managing through a difficult situation.
- Employees can call his office on 0749 204 600 and mention that they are from JM Kelly.
- An appointment can be scheduled from there.
- The office is located on level 1 Suncorp house, 103 Bolsover St, Rockhampton.
His plan was to print off discount cards for the JM Kelly workers next week.
Going into the Christmas period, a notoriously quiet time for the building industry, he recognised it was a difficult time to find work until things picked up in the new year.
The cards would feature a list of local businesses, along with a percentage discount that they would receive off their bills. It would be valid until January, when he hoped business conditions would have started to improve.
"Doblo's Farmers Markets can give a 20 per cent discount, Menswear Direct gives a 20 per cent discount and Mark's got Shop $mart down the road there, they're going to offer the 20 per cent," he said.
"I'm going to ring a couple of other businesses and see if I can get a local person in that's involved in fuel, someone that's local that's involved in meat and if there's a local grocery person.
"Hopefully if there's a story in the paper, someone will be in contact with me and we'll add their name, get the cards printed out next week and hand it out to all the (JM Kelly) staff."
As someone who has also experienced tough times, Mr Wood was sold by Mr Doblo's idea from the moment he heard it.
"It's just locals helping locals, isn't it?" Mr Wood said.
"Dominic and I were talking about it and we said, especially with work wear and stuff like that, it will help them save some money getting back into work.
"It's just good to know that people having hard times, we're asking what we can do to help."
When asked which businesses he would like to see listed on the discount card, Mr Woods said it was a case of "the more that can come on board, the better it would be".
Speaking about the unfinished JM Kelly projects, he hoped those local jobs would remain and weren't farmed off to southern companies.
"We need more local workers working locally," he said.
Mr Doblo implored the Federal Government to step in and start doing something more for the area and bring forward projects that will start to get the local economy ticking over.
"Because this is an absolute disaster for Rocky losing 200 odd pay packets, the whole regional economy in Australia is a disaster." he said.
"The only reason why I'm selling plenty of fruit and veges is because people are doing it tough and people want cheap fruit and veges.
"Everyone is living week to week and our politicians don't understand that anyone that works outside the public service isn't earning much more than they were 10 years ago but the cost of living's doubled."
If you would like to add your business name to the discount card, please call Dominic Doblo on 0410 147 341.