In late 2000, a group of like-minded business people had gathered to officially form a co-operative that had been in the planning for a number of years.
On December 7, the Mackay Area Industry Network came was created, forged by the need for a common voice for industry.
The original MAIN executive Committee included:
A downturn in the mining sector during the late 1990s was the catalyst for driving companies into looking outside the square.
Previously, the Queensland Government had been promoting the “Cluster” concept and a Coal Services Industry Cluster had been in the early stages. This met with limited success due to a strong market in the late ‘80s early ‘90s. There was no driver for businesses to work together as they were achieving success on their own.
By the late 1990s, ‘clustering’ was no longer considered the best approach, however the cooperative approach and a common voice for industry was desirable.
Some saw the opportunity to have a body such as MAIN potentially bid for work on behalf of groups of members however this did not become a reality.
MAIN’s integral role advocating the capability and capacity of the supply chain came about when many companies were exploring ways to secure work at Rio Tinto’s newest mine, Hail Creek. With the downturn in the market at the time, businesses were keen to make themselves known to the Rio Tinto procurement people, and it soon became MAIN’s role to make this happen.
The MAIN structure and concept was strongly influenced by the Hunternet Organisation who had been operating in Newcastle for 8-10 years at the time an were successful in regrowing industry after the departure of BHP steel from Newcastle.
MAIN was formed to represent, as one voice, all those companies who individually would never be heard. The aggregation of capacity, capability and knowledge has been used over the years to influence Government policy, both regionally and at a federal level, to address issues faced by members. The same information is used to promote the members to potential clients within the region and externally, including in an overseas market where applicable.
The original MAIN business plan states “Mackay Area Industry Network: An opportunity for companies in the Mackay Region to Help Keep What They Have Today and to Help Build A Prosperous Tomorrow.”
MAIN provides a vehicle that can assist members to grow their business, overcome obstacles and share knowledge and experience through networking.
It continues in this capacity today, driven by its objectives of Connecting, Developing and Promoting. The mining industry is, by nature, cyclical and MAIN remains as relevant today in its role of building resilience and sustainability as it was in a time of rapid growth.