Economic Development Strategy
Bathurst Regional Council is currently in the process of developing an Economic Development Strategy for the Bathurst Region. The Strategy will be a living document which indicates Council's commitment to develop, foster and strengthen the local economy for the benefit of all residents
The Strategy will be based on the strong appreciation of the key strengths of the Region and be underpinned by partnerships, linkages and cooperation between government, business, community, groups and agencies.
In June 2010 Council hosted a series of Economic Development Forums which brought together a range of representatives from across all key industry sectors to aid in the formation of a united vision for the Region. The five Forums identified a number of key opportunities that exist for the Region in terms of Economic Development. Council is also hosting a survey to gather more input into the Strategy.
Inputs from the Economic Development Forums are currently being analyised. These results will be taken into consideration together with a detailed situation analysis, an analysis of the Regions strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A series of objectives, strategies and action plan will be developed which outline key priorities with identified partners and an appropriate budget. It is hoped that the Economic Development Strategy will be adopted by Bathurst Regional Council by the end of 2010.
The Economic Development Strategy provides a strategic framework for Bathurst Regional Council for a short to medium timeframe, 2011-2016. The Strategy represents a new focused direction for Council, community and the private sector to drive growth in the Region.
Most important is the recognition that the success of any economic activities depends entirely on the willingness of all stakeholders (community, industry and government) to work together towards achieving the shared vision and objectives outlined in the Strategy.
The Strategy's development required consideration and articulation of values and priorities by key stakeholders and the community. To gather a range of inputs Council hosted six forums and an online survey which was marketed to the local community through the media. Council representatives also presented at various external forums including the Bathurst Business Chamber and Bathurst Superannuants and Pensioners meeting (attended by over 170 Bathurst residents) to gather feedback and suggestions as key inputs into the development of the Strategy.
The Economic Development Strategy is developed for a five year period, complimenting Council's Community and Social Plan. The Strategy is a key component of the new planning model - Integrated Planning and Reporting (IPR), as it assists in providing a guiding mechanism for the growth of the City. It is important to note that there is a direct correlation with performance measures, outcomes and Council's resourcing of Economic Development. As such an action plan is placed at the back of the strategy, which will essentially be the Economic Development sections workplan. The Action Plan will be monitored and reported to Council on a regular basis.
Following a review of the situation analysis, the priority areas are broken to three core areas of Foundation Initiatives, Bridging Initiatives and Key Strategic Growth Sectors. Foundation Initiatives are those areas that underpin the Strategy, these are identified as sound infrastructure, a skilled workforce and ongoing business support.
Investment, strategic partnerships and marketing act as a bridge to the strategic growth sectors and core foundation initiatives. By themselves they do not create employment or drive wealth, however provide support and direction to other initiatives both public and private. Specifically they include:-
· Investment through facilitation and attraction;
· Collaboration through the formation of strategic partnership and stakeholder
· Strategic Marketing.
To maintain Bathurst Regions growth and be sustainable, several Strategic Growth Sectors have been identified as key priority areas for the 2011-2016 period. These sectors include:
· Knowledge Innovation and Research;
· Advanced Manufacturing;
· Information Technology;
· Small, Micro and Home Based Business;
· Tourism; and