Pathfinder: Limestone Coast Growth Strategy
Recently, members of the RAI team had the privilege of spending four days in the stunning Limestone Coast region of South East South Australia, working in partnership with the Limestone Coast Local Government Association (LCLGA) to deliver the Regional Australia Institute’s ‘Pathfinder’ regional economic development program.
We visited the seven local governments of Grant, Kingston, City of Mt Gambier, Naracoorte Lucindale, Robe, Tatiara and Wattle Range to ground truth our insights and analysis, and gather local intelligence on economic growth opportunities and constraints.
This work underpins development of the new Limestone Coast Region Growth Strategy, Infrastructure Audit and Investment Prospectus. It creates core foundations supporting collaboration between all seven councils, helping to focus and coordinate the overall effort and resources required to deliver the greatest impact possible for the community and economy.
The project assesses the region’s growth trajectory – identifying competitive strengths as well as areas that need improvement to grow the local economy over the next decade. In particular, it will focus on three to five key priority areas likely to deliver the biggest impact.
The Limestone Coast Pathfinder project is the first of its kind delivered in South Australia, having also been successfully implemented in Townsville, North Queensland, the Namoi region in northern NSW, and the Remote Area Planning and Development (RAPAD) region in central Queensland.
Like many regions, the Limestone Coast is undergoing structural economic change, with employment growth in traditional industries such as agriculture and manufacturing projected to fall behind compared to higher expected growth rates in service industries. This means that long term economic prosperity will be based on the enduring competitiveness of these foundations, alongside creative approaches to ensuring Limestone Coast residents are well placed to pick up the best of anticipated growth in service industries.
While each of the local government areas has its own unique set of priorities, a range of common themes has emerged. Issues including (but not limited to) skills gaps in core industries, the need to attract more people to the Limestone Coast, and taking advantage of high volumes of domestic drive tourists were all raised for further consideration.
The region has now identified a range of opportunities and barriers to future growth. However uncertainty remains about the nature of economic investment required to address these factors. The next steps of the project will play an important role in resolving this uncertainty, distilling local input and RAI’s initial data analysis to assess which areas will be a priority focus for investment and shared action.
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