More than a Growth Plan – Limestone Coast Region Pathfinder
For those of us involved in any form of politics, we know that the benefits of regional collaboration is much easier to talk about, than to actually put into practice.
In this context, the unanimous commitment by civic leaders in the Limestone Coast Region of South Australia to work together implementing a new regional growth strategy and action plan is a really big achievement. It gives it an edge over other regions that is a powerful, mature and collaborative approach to economic development.
While collaboration is not new on the Limestone Coast, full scale regional commitment to a set of agreed, evidence based strategic priorities, directions and actions for economic growth certainly is.
Using the Regional Australia Institute’s (RAI) Pathfinder process, we worked in partnership with the seven member councils of the Limestone Coast Local Government Association (LCLGA) and RDA Limestone Coast (RDALC) to not only develop the Limestone Coast Regional Growth Strategy and Action Plan, but also strengthen collaboration and the shared leadership required to successfully implement them.
The Limestone Coast Pathfinder project shows that headline growth in the region has been flat after a period of relatively stable growth. To maintain its vibrant and diverse regional economy, it will need to make a substantial and energised effort to reinvigorate it from a fairly stagnant base.
The Strategy highlights that a well-coordinated, collaborative, and strategically focused effort can set the Limestone Coast region on the path to deliver a 20 percent lift in economic performance, adding $700 million in growth annually and more than 5,700 new jobs by 2026. It provides the evidence base, priority areas for focus, strategic directions, and potential actions required to give leaders confidence setting off on a path together towards a brighter economic future.
These priorities include:
- Invigorating the working age population, by attracting and retaining more people across the region to fill key skills gaps and support vibrant and sustainable regional communities;
- Building on the region’s competitive advantage in agribusiness;
- Capturing employment opportunities in growing sectors like healthcare and social assistance;
- Supporting the development of a vibrant business ecosystem;
- Region-wide collaboration to develop a more coordinated tourism market; and
- Securing investment to deliver regional infrastructure priorities enabling growth.
The imperative for a collaborative approach was amplified by the RAI’s research and stakeholder engagement. It built a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities for growth, and highlighted that their sense of urgency and scale is well beyond the capabilities of any single organisation to solve for on its own. In fact, working together to address these top regional priorities can often improve the likelihood of success for individual local area priorities too.
The Limestone Coast Regional Growth Strategy, Action Plan and supporting Technical Report were adopted unanimously by the LCLGA Board on Friday 15 June, and implementation has now begun.
The RAI is now looking to commence new Pathfinder projects in 2018. If your region is considering how to put your future back in your hands, then we would like to work with you on a Pathfinder project to achieve it. To find out more, please contact Steve Gleeson at the RAI on [email protected] or 0403 027 760.
Sign up to our Regional Futures e-News to make sure you stay up to date with the latest news and information.