Pathways forward for the Illawarra region
In October, the Regional Australia Institute and the Business Council of Australia visited Wollongong to host an open forum on unlocking economic prosperity in the Illawarra.
The open forum was the second in a series of community conversations being held across Australia, working with regions to identify their competitive advantages and future pathways to success. By merging with work of the RAI and the BCA with local knowledge and experience, these forums are also creating a platform for regional voices to be heard at a federal level.
The Wollongong consultation bought together representatives from business, community, research and government sectors. It focused on what makes the Illawarra work well at present, what has made it work well in the past, and what needs to be in place for the region to be at its very best in the future.
Participants pointed to the natural beauty and unique landscape of the region, which should be a key drawcard for investment. They spoke of investing more effort into social and cultural activities, particularly for young people, to attract them to the area. However, concern was raised over the disconnect between strong university presence and youth employment, and the need to better connect youth skills with new markets. Creating better support for small businesses and planning strategically for the future was also high on the agenda.
The RAI and the BCA would like to thank all those who made the open forum such a positive experience. The input gained will be invaluable to developing the future agenda of the RAI and the BCA, to reflect regional knowledge, concerns and aspirations. s part of our ongoing commitment to the Wollongong community, we have developed a report of the outcomes of the open forum. We hope that this resource becomes a useful asset in the pathways forward for the Illawarra.
To download a full record of the day’s ideas, click here.
To check out the photos from the forum, visit our facebook page.