Broadening Singleton's economic horizon
Last Wednesday (31 July) the Regional Australia Institute’s Manager of Research Julie Wilson visited the town of Singleton, nestled on the banks of the Hunter River in the New South Wales.
Julie was there at the invitation of the Singleton City Council who, following the launch of [In]Sight: Australia’s regional competitiveness index, wanted to understand more about how the region had performed.
The turn-out was impressive, with over sixty in attendance, ranging from the Hunter TAFE, who co-sponsored the event, to businesses owners, the Chamber of Commerce and the Singleton Mayor, John Martin.
The focus of the forum was regional development, with the town about to embark on a new economic plan to ensure its vibrant and sustainable future.
In particular, the Singleton community wanted to understand how to strengthen its business sophistication, which had ranked poorly on [In]Sight and was seen as an opportunity for the region to broaden its economic base.
Julie outlined the low presence of large employers and exports in the region in relation to the strong economic diversity in the area. Discussion explored whether this could be negatively impacting on business confidence, pointing to the need to build on current initiatives to encourage new and emerging businesses.
Key strengths of the Hunter were also highlighted, with strong rankings in Technological Readiness, Human Capital and Infrastructure and Essential Services, providing a strong platform for future growth.
“We were so pleased that the Singleton Council contacted us to get a deeper understanding of their competitiveness,” Julie said. “It’s fantastic to see regions being proactive about taking the knowledge in [In]Sight and incorporating their findings into strategic plans and results”.
The Singleton Council will be incorporating the discussion and findings learned from the forum into their Economic Development Plan, and keep an ongoing conversation with the RAI to strengthen their region.