Nurturing the nation’s best address

Collins-StIn Australia, you can’t get better than a Collins St address – and there is a group of local business people who plan to keep it that way.

The Collins Street Precinct Group is a diverse collection of people bound by the common purpose of promoting the CBD’s premier street.

Long-serving group president Don Parsons explained that the group formed more than 20 years ago, inspired by the legendary Mietta O’Donnell.

He said the group was already in operation before the City of Melbourne formed its precinct program in 1995.

With more than 150 members, the group represents retail, hospitality, churches, hotels, health, galleries as well as professional services.

“We approach things from different angles, but we all agree that Collins Street needs to maintain its status as the city’s premier street,” Mr Parsons said.

As a member-based organisation, the group aims to bring more customers to local businesses as well as liaise with the City of Melbourne on policy issues.

“Our contact with the council flows in both directions,” Mr Parsons said.  “We communicate to members on behalf of council as well as responding on behalf of the group.”

The group hosts networking events, a breakfast series with speakers and also training opportunities to members.

For executive member Maria Cozzo, it’s all about helping each other.

“We can do so much more as a united group than as individuals,” she said.  “When we are all helping other members in the group, we all benefit anyway. It’s about being united and doing what is best for everyone.”

“If you believe in something, then you’ve got to get involved to make things happen.”

Ms Cozzo said the Collins St precinct offered so much to locals and tourists alike.

“We’ve got so much here – shopping, theatre, the best of everything,” she said.

“The only real way to make something work is to engage with people,” she said. “It’s the old-fashioned one-on-one that works and that’s what we do here in the precinct group.”

The Collins Street Precinct Group is seeking new executive members.  All financial members are eligible to nominate.  Forms can be downloaded from the group’s website (www.collinsstreet.com.au) or ring 9639 4078.

The group’s annual general meeting is being held at Café DuOmo in The Block Arcade at 6.30pm on May 13.

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