Murwillumbah business woman Toni Zuschke submitted the only nomination to be president of the Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber.
Murwillumbah business woman Toni Zuschke submitted the only nomination to be president of the Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber. Tweed Daily News/Blainey Woodham

Chamber to become 'non-political'

A TAKEOVER of the Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber by a new guard of “non-political” members looks a foregone conclusion, with president-elect Toni Zuschke yesterday outlining her plans for a new-look board.

Ms Zuschke, who with husband Mike runs the Murwillumbah advertising and marketing business Barking Toad, has lodged the only nomination for the presidency.

She told the chamber's monthly breakfast meeting yesterday she hoped the new team would “continue on the good work the old board has done” and unify local business people.

Outgoing president Phil Youngblutt, who thwarted earlier attempts by Ms Zuschke and colleagues to take over the board, was absent from his last business breakfast as president due to family reasons.

Ms Zuschke, who is a former director of the chamber but walked out two-and-a-half years ago criticising the then board, lodged the only nomination as president in the wake of the decisions of current president Phil Youngblutt and other senior board members to stand down.

She told the Tweed Daily News she wanted a chamber which is “not politically based in any shape or form”.

Chamber vice-president Murray Lees, who is also Tweed Nationals chairman, faces a challenge to his position but has played down past rivalries, saying: “I'm happy to work with whoever is elected as long as we all pull together for local businesses”.

Mr Lees is confident of being returned to the board, even if not as vice-president, at the annual general meeting on Tuesday week.

Ms Zuschke said her team was “young and motivated, with great enthusiasm”.

“Marketing for the town will be one of my priorities,” she said.

“I would like to re-invent the 'Heart of the Tweed' campaign and increase the networking and social side of business. I would like to open the chamber to a more progressive, social side.”

High on Ms Zuschke's list of priorities would be preparing for the proposed world championship car rally in September, which she likened to “an invasion of tourism”.

“If we run out of hamburgers and food for those people, we will come across as a country hick town,” she warned.

“A priority will be educating businesses and holding workshops on how to cope with the influx of people.

“We are talking 80,000 people, whereas Speed on Tweed brought 20,000.

“It's something we really need to be prepared for.

“We are going to need infrastructure for shuttling people in and out of town.

“We might need to put up a tent city to cope with the popu- lation overflow.”

One of the existing directors to renominate, car sales and hire dealer Phil Taylor, welcomed Ms Zuschke's decision to nominate as president.

“She will be good,” Mr Taylor said.

“I get on well with her”.



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