Recently I was reminded that local government plays a central role in creating the vision for our community and guiding the future development and economic vitality of our region.
All three levels of our community’s elected representatives must work together so that we can advocate productively for our region to the higher levels of government in order to achieve the best outcomes for our residents.
On that note, Council is currently reviewing and will adopt a new Economic Development Strategy for our region in the very near future.
A quick snapshot of the 2014-2019 strategy shows that Council has predominately addressed the visions and achieved real outcomes as set out in this strategy document.
Council has successfully lobbied for upgrade commitments, from both the federal and state governments, for the Corooy to Curra Bruce Highway upgrades.
We have had fantastic results in our tourism sector being driven by significant increased visitation to both the Cooloola Coast and the Mary Valley.
We have seen significant investment by our very own ‘home grown’ and long term industries and businesses who also happen to be our region’s major employers.
Businesses such as Corbet’s, Nolan’s, Nestles and Laminex to name but a few. We have also seen an increase in small to medium enterprises in the medical diagnostic field, aged care, medical centres and retail. Our housing industry continues to buck state-wide trends and remains in a strong position. Unemployment, at the time of Council adopting the strategy in 2014, was at 10 per cent. Unemployment figures for the Gympie region at the end of the last quarter were 8.12 per cent. In real terms, 700+ more jobs in the region. While this latest unemployment rate is still too high, it is an improvement from where we started.
Also at the core of economic development is delivering social infrastructure to attract prosperity. This includes river walks, improved community parks, aquatic facilities, equestrian facilities and upgrades to our community sporting venues.
Some of these projects will at times receive criticism but I will always remain committed to delivering projects and services that are great for our residents at both the social and economic level.
Mayor Mick Curran