The Next Crop forum series: Have your say!
With one event down and seven to go, the RAI is encouraging people to get along to The Next Crop events being held across New South Wales, where local communities are coming together to help build a brighter future for themselves.
An initiative of The Land and Good Fruit and Vegetables, the forums are being held in regional towns and are designed to bring together the great ideas and successes stories of each area – with the aim of promoting regional towns as great place to live and build a career.
The RAI is proud to play a supporting role at these forums, by providing the latest data and information relevant to each town.
The forums are free, ‘town hall’ type events where all members of the community are invited to listen to local speakers who have made a positive contribution to their industry or town. Attendees are also invited to join the discussion about what rural communities can do to help themselves to thrive.
The priorities the RAI would encourage all of the leaders of small communities in rural NSW to consider in The Next Crop discussions include:
- Set the right goals – Set some realistic short and medium term ambitions for their communities’ future around jobs growth, population growth and services and celebrate success when they are achieved.
- Prioritise Permanent International Migration – Migration has tended to be thought of as a last resort but it should be a top priority as it is the only reliable source of population growth.
- Community led strategies in rural Victoria, NSW and rural WA have led to population growth rates of up to 15 per cent for places which were previously in decline.
- Nurture the Young and the Old – Focus on the people who are in the community not those who have left. Engage and support young people who choose to stay in rural NSW. Work to keep the older population healthy and engaged in work or the volunteer sector which is so important to small town success.
- Services Jobs – Look at opportunities in the services sector for local jobs growth and ensure communities are securing their share of the nation’s biggest source of jobs growth
- Back Your Doers – Encourage and support local entrepreneurs who are creating new businesses that can service markets beyond the region and outside of traditional industries. Women throughout rural areas are creating incredible businesses using the internet and their creativity.
- Use Connectivity – It often feels slow and there is room for improvement but connectivity has never been better with internet and mobile services
- Cut Good Deals for New Investment – It’s a great time to secure investment in small communities. The NSW Government has major funding programs in place off the back of infrastructure sales that are a once in a decade or more opportunity for NSW regions. Interest rates are still low and there is money looking for good projects and assets. Every small community should be thinking about how it can get the best out of these conditions and secure industry growth and better infrastructure for the future.
The first forum was held in Cooma a few weeks ago, with other locations including Grenfell, April 5; Armidale, May 3; Griffith, June 7; Moree, July 5; Cobar, August 2; Yass, September 6, and Lismore, October 4.
Click here to read more about The Next Crop initiative
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