Councils combine to grow economy
As seen in the North Queensland Register, 2 February 2017
VALUE added agriculture is a priority area in a new collaborative approach by North Queensland regional councils as they work to grow the region’s economy.
Townsville City Council has endorsed its participation in the North Queensland Pathfinder Action Plan, which seeks to guide jobs growth and development by proposing a number of key enabling projects, including advocacy to secure water availability.
The project, with input from the State Government, Townsville Enterprise and the Regional Australia Institute, will include North Queensland Regional Organisational of Councils (REDROC) members being Charters Towers, Hinchinbrook, Burdekin and Palm Island.
RED-ROC chair Cr Jenny Hill said while water and energy were priority areas for council, it was time for North Queensland to look at wider opportunities.
“Industry growth has changed, new areas for investment are emerging and new capacity has to be built internally to ensure the region is ready to grow for the next 20 years,” Cr Hill said.
The action plan focusses economic resources on six priority areas, being tourism growth, Asia gateway expansion, human resources growth, more entrepreneurs, lifting workforce skills and value added agriculture.
Cr Hill said the project was developed collaboratively with the guidance of the Regional Australia Institute (RAI). “This plan is about communities working together on a regional basis,” Cr Hill said.
“With the expertise and coordination of RAI, the project has drawn on ideas and views of our local business and community leaders to identify a select list of priority areas and agreed actions to boost our regional economy.” The plan will be implemented with an agreed monitoring plan used to coordinate the timing of projects, key performance indicators and participating stakeholders.
RAI general manager of research and policy Kim Houghton said the RAI’s Pathfinder Initiative identified the most important factors for economic prosperity in a region and the ways the community could boost its capacity to drive change.
“The North Queensland Pathfinder Action Plan was collaboratively developed and provides a robust plan which will guide the region’s economic prosperity,” Mr Houghton said. “Regional collaboration is vital to ensure the North Queensland region can reach its full potential.”