Latest News & Updates

International Women’s Day Awards

Boonah District Chamber of Commerce Inc – International Woman’s Day Awards. In 1914 March 8th was marked as International Women’s Day and has remained the global date for International Women’s Day ever since. The Scenic Rim and the Fassifern Valley in particular, has an amazing number of women in business, health, education, community service and as volunteers in many groups, committees, and associations. These women work tirelessly to ensure a safe, healthy, and inclusive community. Boonah District Chamber of Commerce Inc would like to encourage the community to nominate women who have made a significant contribution to Boonah and surrounding communities in the last few years and honour them at a morning tea on March 8th , 2024.
RSVP Here.
Is there a woman who inspires you and has made a significant contribution to the local community?
** Nominations close on March 4th , 2024
2024 IWD Award categories
Businesswoman of the Year 2024
* For those women in business who live and work in Boonah or surrounding small towns *Who demonstrate excellence in their chosen business area and/or Contributes in some way to the lives of women and girls in the community through their business and /or * is an inspiration or role model to women and girls in the community.
Community Service Award
*For those women working in a service industry who go an above and beyond their role and/or * Who Contribute to the safety, well being or welfare of women and girls in the community and/or * Is an inspirational role model to woman and girls.
Volunteer Award
*For those woman (and there are many) who freely give of their time to committees, organisations, schools and the like and/or *Who may receive some renumeration but also offer their time for non-payment and/or *Who contribute to their community in a way that benefits woman/girls in the community and/or * Is an inspirational role model to woman and girls.
Young Woman of the Year
*For those aged 24 years and under who live, work, volunteer or belong to a community group in Boonah or surrounding areas and /or excellence in their chosen field.* Has contributed significantly to sport, school or community group in Boonah or surrounding community and/or *Is an inspirational role model to other young woman and girls in Boonah or surrounding community.
The morning tea will take place at Arthur Clive Bakery in Boonah on Friday March 8th at 9.30am. Bookings can be made via email to [email protected] or call Arthur Clive in Boonah (07) 5463 2667 $20 pp includes sweet and savoury treats + tea and coffee

Cyber Security Free Online Courses

Innovate to Grow – Free CSIRO Course

This is a self-paced and virtually delivered program designed to help small to medium sized businesses get involved with research and development.

About the program

Innovate to Grow is a free 10-week program coordinated by CSIRO for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who want to progress their R&D opportunities, or are in the early decision-making stages about engaging in R&D.

With the help of experienced researchers and innovation experts, participants can examine their technical and/or business challenges, explore their R&D and innovation opportunities, and develop actionable business and funding plans. You will also increase your professional network and become part of the program alumni, receiving offers and information after the program.

Key program outcomes

The course will help you make informed business decisions as to whether the R&D project you’ve identified is right for you.

It will step you through how to:

  • refine your innovation challenge question
  • assess the viability of your innovation
  • build your R&D business case
  • prepare a strong funding application

As part of the course, you can expect:

  • Practical outcomes: We’ll step you through how to turn your idea into viable R&D.
  • Confidential feedback: All submissions will receive prompt expert feedback.
  • A mentor: You will be paired with a researcher to connect you with experts in your field.
  • To build your network: You will build key contacts in your sector.
    Who can sign up?

    Selection criteria (essential):

    • An Australian registered and operating business.
    • A business classified as small to medium (less than 200 employees).
    • A business currently, or in the early stages of, exploring R&D opportunities for their business.
    • You must also be a business working in the sector of the advertised program.

    Courses are currently offered in a range of high-priority sectors, including, but not limited to:

    • AgriFoods
    • Cyber Security
    • Space
    • Mining and Mining equipment, technology and services (METS)
    • Circular economy

    You must currently be working in the cohort sector either directly, or indirectly, such as providing cyber security solutions specifically to the agricultural sector. Please note, there may not be a course offered for every sector each year. Courses for other sectors may also be offered from time to time.

    Upcoming programs

    We are always looking for opportunities to expand the program to new sectors. All upcoming courses are listed below as they become available.

    Limited places

    This is a high-demand program and places are limited. Register your interest for future intakes and receive notification of application open dates by subscribing.

    Register your interest for future intakes

Free SME Training Courses

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has launched its free education platform for small business owners, promising useful and informative courses for entrepreneurs at every stage of the business lifecycle.

The online platform offers more than 20 short courses on foundational business skills, like record-keeping, cashflow management, and paying workers correctly.

It also delves into tax-specific issues, like superannuation guarantee obligations, GST requirements, and claiming small business tax deductions.

The content is broken up into videos, fact sheets, case studies, activities, and quizzes, allowing entrepreneurs to test their knowledge.

Users can find courses targeted to the stage of their business, spanning from those who are yet to put their idea into action, to entrepreneurs seeking to retire, sell, wind down, or exit their business.

Those courses can be pieced together into self-directed pathways, allowing users to choose the most relevant topics.

The ATO site also allows users to find courses relevant to their particular field, including retail, hairdressing, construction, and the gig economy.

Further, the site contains calendars with key payment and lodgement dates, making it easier for business owners to keep tabs on what is due and when.

ATO deputy commissioner Will Day said the long-awaited platform was designed specifically with the needs of time-poor entrepreneurs in mind.

“We know that a lot of small businesses don’t have time to attend courses during business hours while they are busy running their business – so the beauty of our new platform is that you can do it at a time that suits you, save your progress, and then pick it up again later,” he said in a statement.

Minister for Small Business Julie Collins called the new portal a “great opportunity” for small business owners to find information tailored to their needs.

The ATO has also encouraged tax practitioners to provide links to the new course material to their clients, giving them another way to bolster their tax and business literacy.

The new portal arrives after the full-scale launch of the revamped ATO website, which the organisation says will make it easier and faster for users to find the information they need.

It also comes as the ATO turns its focus to recouping tax debts accrued in recent years.

The tax office has long associated increased tax literacy with improved compliance — and course information about gracefully exiting a business may assist owners before they accrue major debts.

You can access the new training portal here.

Information, tools and support for Small Business

Visit the Business Queensland website for information, tools and support to help you start, run and grow your business.

Whether you are just getting started or ramping up operations, keep this site handy as it has a wealth of information.

With Quick Links for:

  • QRO Online
  • Payroll tax
  • Small Business grants
  • Biosecurity entity registration
  • Long service leave in Qld
  • Queensland Development Code
  • Liquor and Gaming
  • Queensland Small Business Commissioner
  • Business events
  • Business Health Check


Congratulations to Winners – 2023 Business Excellence Awards

The spirit of entrepreneurship and the rising stars of the region’s business community were celebrated at the 2023 Scenic Rim Business Excellence Awards on Friday evening.

Almost 200 guests gathered at The Centre Beaudesert where veterinary pharmaceuticals enterprise Plasvacc Pty Ltd received the highest accolade, the Regional Prosperity Award, after winning the Excellence in Business Award as an employer of more than 20 staff.

Competition was keen with 43 businesses and four individuals competing for awards in 11 categories, which Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said recognised the dedication and determination of those helping to drive the region’s growing economy.

“Building a successful business requires passion, determination and resilience and the ability to continue to adapt and evolve to meet customers’ needs and an ever-changing economic environment,” he said.

“These awards provide an opportunity to recognise those who go above and beyond in customer service and innovation and who remind us all of the stellar success that can be achieved through vision and purpose.”

The awards were presented in the categories of: Excellence in Tourism and Accommodation; Excellence in Hospitality – Food and Dining; Excellence in Retail, Excellence in Trades and Construction; Excellence in Agriculture; Excellence in Transport, Logistics, Manufacturing and Mining; Excellence in Professional Services; Excellence in Community Services; Most Outstanding New Business; Excellence in Business (20+ staff); and Trainee/Apprentice of the Year.

The overall Regional Prosperity Award was presented to the business that has achieved outstanding results, exhibited sound management and demonstrated all-round excellence.

Judges Melissa Johnson Morgan, Associate Professor of the University of Southern Queensland’s School of Business, and John Hale, the Mentoring for Growth Program Mentor from the Queensland Government’s Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, commented on the high calibre of entries in the 2023 awards.

In judging the business nominations they considered a range of factors including outstanding customer service, environmental awareness, understanding of target markets, well-defined and understood business strategies, rigorous systems, effective risk management, financial performance and a clear commitment to excellence in all facets of their operations.

Mayor Christensen said the awards also recognised the trainees and apprentices who represent the future of the Scenic Rim.

“One of the challenges for our region, and indeed other communities, is that we often lose talented young people to larger urban areas once they graduate,” he said.

“Our schools and local businesses are to be congratulated for offering our young people an insight into the opportunities available for them to succeed and grow their careers in the Scenic Rim.”

Mayor Christensen said he was proud of the contribution of local businesses which has seen the steady growth of the Scenic Rim’s economy, whose GRP is now some $2.09 billion annually.

“As well as showcasing our industry-leading businesses, the biennial Business Excellence Awards send a strong message to potential investors and jobseekers that the Scenic Rim is a region of great opportunity,” he said.

“The achievements of our awards recipients should inspire others to strive for similarly high standards of excellence which are building the reputation of the Scenic Rim as a great place to do business.”

The winners of the 2023 Scenic Rim Business Excellence Awards are as follows:

Excellence in Tourism and Accommodation
Mount French Lodge
Nestled in the picturesque countryside of Mount French, this luxurious lodge features eight beautifully appointed apartments accommodating just sixteen guests. The business model is innovative in that the property is let to only one group at a time, attracting families, friends and corporate clients for special celebrations and providing a motivating space for  business planning workshops. Recent improvements include additional accommodation and a stunning outdoor pavilion.

Excellence in Hospitality – Food and Dining
Picnic Real Food Bar
Picnic Real Food was established in 2021 in the North Stores precinct at North Tamborine. Its menu, with a focus on wholesome food, features fresh produce from local growers and changes seasonally. Environmental sustainability is a key feature in its food packaging and goal of zero waste, which sees 20 kilograms of kitchen food scraps reduced to two kilos of nutrient-rich compost overnight. An Environ Waste Management system manages all on-site waste water and supports an on-site vegetable, herb and fruit tree garden.

Excellence in Retail
My Country Escape
From a meticulously renovated historic building in Canungra, My Country Escape showcases a carefully curated range of merchandise supporting local products and artisans, from stylish homewares and body products to sustainable clothing, all in a welcoming and uplifting atmosphere. It was judged an outstanding local business which gone from strength to strength, contributing to the community and supporting local events. Collaboration with Griffith University design students has seen the Canungra store expanded to include an outdoor space for community workshops.

Excellence in Professional Services
Honni Hayton Counselling
Honni Hayton Counselling was established five years ago in response to the need for accessible and specialised mental health services within the Scenic Rim.  As a sole practitioner, Honni aimed to create a safe, local haven providing expert counselling and tailored support to enhance emotional and mental well-being. She has grown her business and her business skills during difficult years of the pandemic, successfully pivoting to provide a valuable online counselling service to the community.

Excellence in Trades and Construction
Totally Flooring, Beaudesert
Totally Flooring, a family-owned and operated retail flooring store which opened in Beaudesert two years ago, is a great example of a sole trader taking a leap by utilising trade skills to start their own independent business in what is a largely franchised industry. Providing a high level of customer service, Totally Flooring has its own team of installers and has extended its product line to include window furnishings, tile products and trade accessories. It is a great supporter of local community sport, aims to employ staff who live in the region and also supports other small businesses.

Excellence in Agriculture
Aquis Farm
Achieving a perfect score of 100 in the awards judging, Aquis Farm is a world-class business with a team of experienced vets, trainers, breeders and industry experts to ensure the well-being and success of racehorses. Established in 2015, it is dedicated to sustainable practices in equine management, environmental stewardship and social responsibility and aspires to be the premier global destination for horse training and racing with bloodlines dominating world events. Water conservation, pasture improvements, paddock rest and use of renewable energy are at the heart of its sustainability practices.

Excellence in Transport, Logistics, Manufacturing and Mining
Beaudesert Exhaust
Established in 1982,Beaudesert Exhaust has grown from providing basic exhaust and radiator parts to large-scale manufacturing and supply chain production.  Beaudesert Exhaust provides services to a range of Australian businesses and manufacturers including 3D scanning and modelling, specialty coatings and the supply of pre-production components for a broad range of applications. It is at the forefront of automotive manufacturing, catering to customers whose passions include 4WD activities, camping, caravanning, fishing and off-road adventures.

Excellence in Community Services
McAuley College Beaudesert
McAuley College opened in January 2017 as a direct result of community advocacy for a Catholic secondary school and enrols a diverse range of students. It offers rural heritage values and supports creative, contemporary and innovative learning through quality teaching in an environment of engagement and community partnership. McAuley College has developed a Senior Program to engage with local businesses to provide work experience and works closely with Mununjali House and Amy Blow to build a space for First Nations students to celebrate their history and story.

Most Outstanding New Business
Neds Restaurant
The family-owned and operated Neds Restaurant aims to be the destination of choice for steak connoisseurs and those seeking a memorable dining experience in the Scenic Rim. It sources the finest quality ingredients from local suppliers, supporting the regional agricultural and food production sectors, and actively engages with other local businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry to forge strong community partnerships. Its environmental impact is lessened by monitoring energy consumption, reducing waste and sourcing sustainable products.

Excellence in Business (20+ employees)
Plasvacc Pty Ltd
Plasvacc Pty Ltd manufactures high-quality blood plasma products for horses, camels and dogs was judged as an extremely well-run business with caring staff, an holistic approach to animal welfare and high ethical standards. Of the 27 staff at its Kalbar headquarters, 23 are women and most are Scenic Rim residents who have enjoyed long-term careers in fields of science, manufacturing, biopharmaceuticals, animal husbandry and administration in a family-friendly workplace. Plasvacc’s employees have grown in number worldwide, partly driven by the acquisition of its United Kingdom division.

Trainee/Apprentice of the Year Award
Kasey Payne – Boonah State High School
A dedicated, hardworking and community-minded young woman, Kasey Payne has been a school-based trainee at Hayes and Co, where she is currently undertaking a Certificate III in Business. Kasey has demonstrated exceptional commitment to her studies and the agricultural industry, actively participates in the Boonah State High School Cattle Club and is President of the Junior Show Society. She is an aspiring ambassador for vocational training, having also completed Certificate studies in Sport and Recreation and Tourism alongside her school responsibilities.

Regional Prosperity Highly Commended
Boonah State High School
Boonah State High School’s strategic approach to rebuilding its connection with the community has seen enormous benefits for the school, the students and the community. As regions such as the Scenic Rim often lose talented young people to larger urban areas once they graduate, the school is doing all it can to expose its students to the availability of valuable opportunities and industries in the region. The school sees itself as a training ground for the next generation of young people who will help Scenic Rim businesses to succeed in the future through the leadership of Dan Marrone, the enthusiasm of Kelly Skewes and the dedication of its teachers and students.

Regional Prosperity Award
Plasvacc Pty Ltd
With its Kalbar facility the only one of its kind in Australia, Plasvacc operates in three countries and is at the forefront of the veterinary industry. It exports to fifteen countries and helps to ensure the welfare of animals in Australia and abroad through the production of pharmaceuticals that contribute to a high standard of care. Plasvacc has been operating for 25 years and its global success and recognition attests to the company’s achievements as an innovator in the animal health and agricultural industries.

Resilient Rivers Initiative announcement a watershed moment for Scenic Rim

Scenic Rim Regional Council has welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement of a $40 million investment during the next five years to improve the health and resilience of South East Queensland waterways and wetlands.

The release of the SEQ Waterways and Wetlands Investment Strategy by the Queensland Government and the Council of Mayors South East Queensland provides the blueprint for the expansion of the Resilient Rivers Initiative to deliver a range of projects including riparian revegetation, weed management and improving fish passage.

Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said the announcement of the strategy was a watershed moment for the Resilient Rivers Initiative, whose success has been supported by the SEQ City Deal to improve the health of waterways and wetlands in partnership with landholders, First Nations people, non-government organisations, public utilities and the private sector.

“The Scenic Rim has continued to benefit from the Resilient Rivers Initiative since its establishment in December 2014,” he said.

“This announcement is the next important step to bring more security to keeping our rich farmland where it should be, in our high-performing productive valleys and not in our waterways and wetlands,” he said.

“Our region has a critical role to play in the success of this initiative.

“As the Scenic Rim is home to the headwaters of major rivers of South East Queensland such as the Logan, Albert, Bremer, Warrill, and Coomera, I look forward to our region participating in these further investments and accelerating the great work already achieved.”

In addition to its environmental outcomes, the strategy aims to create local jobs in rural communities, and strengthen the engagement of First Nations people in managing South East Queensland’s catchments.

Mayor Christensen was among South East Queensland Mayors who attended the strategy launch by Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard at Brisbane City Hall on Friday 1 December.

“Today’s announcement is an exciting development for our region,” he said.

“This program, along with the funds committed through the joint City Deal funding, demonstrates a real and tangible partnership to work with our landholders to strengthen our environment for future generations.”

Upcoming Workshops – Digital Solutions

The Digital Solutions program is continuing to facilitate delivery of free workshops for small businesses to assist them in developing additional skills across digitising their businesses, websites, ecommerce, social media and digital marketing, software for small businesses and cybersecurity.

The mentoring program is still also available for small businesses under 20 staff for $110 including GST to access up to 4 hours of mentoring support from digital specialists with expertise in the above-mentioned areas.  Businesses can sign up for this program via this link – Digital Action Plan – Digital Solutions (

Here are the upcoming online and in region workshops happening for the rest of November through to January:

Christmas Window Display Competition

This year the Boonah Chamber Of Commerce will be organising a Christmas window decorating Competition. We look forward to seeing the magic that our local traders create.
Get creative, festival and think outside the box.
Help celebrate our local community at the Christmas Street festival.
Show us your unique “Light up your future” 2023 Themed Christmas window display and win!
A $200 voucher to spend at any local business who has advertised in the Boonah Business Directory.
The winner will be announced on stage at the Christmas Street Festival.